December 9, 2014
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the release of the Senate report on torture:
The release of the Senate torture report today underscores a number of important points. First and foremost, the act of torture stands in stark contrast to our values. America has been and will continue to be a force for good in the world, and torture undermines our ability to protect human rights and dignity. We cannot demand something of others that we do not demand of ourselves.
As many interrogators will tell you, an individual who is being tortured will say or do anything to make it stop. People being tortured will tell interrogators what they want to hear, which is often far different than the truth. Even in those rare instances where usable information is gleaned, that information is not worth the damage done to the American image overseas and at home. This is especially true because we know that information can almost always be gained through lawful methods.
There are people upset by the release of the report today. Some will claim that releasing this report could jeopardize national security, but their anger is misplaced. The potential negative effects of releasing this report are not a product of transparency – they are a consequence of illegal actions in the past.
Those who work at the CIA are often unknown American heroes. The vast majority of those CIA employees I have met and interacted with are intelligent people dedicated to keeping the United States and the American people safe. It is a true tragedy that the American people, Congress, and the White House were apparently misled about the unacceptable interrogation techniques. Congress must exercise far greater oversight over the activities of the Agency in the future to ensure that future programs are legal and effective.
As Americans, we are better than torture and we should use this report as motivation to ensure that it never happens again.