Press Releases

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.

 

Congressman Smith released the following statement after House Republicans passed legislation attempting to ban the President from taking executive action on immigration reform:
 
“Today’s passage of  H.R. 5759 proves once again that House Republicans’ priorities for immigration reform are to obstruct progress and to rip families apart.  It is shameful that House Republicans are willing to take immediate action on this bill to restrict the President’s authority to provide relief for millions of undocumented immigrants, but for over a year have refused to allow a simple vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  
 
“While Republican leadership continues to play politics, millions of people and families are suffering.  They cannot wait any longer.  That is why I opposed this legislation which tries to ban the President from using his authority to improve our immigration system and bring millions out of the shadows.  I will continue to fight for deportation relief, reforms to our immigration detention policies, and most importantly for comprehensive immigration reform.  We must come together to pass a meaningful comprehensive immigration reform bill that keeps families together.”


 

 

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the extension of negotiations with Iran:

While I had hoped that we would have been able to reach a final deal, I support the extension of the interim deal that maintains a freeze on Iran’s nuclear program and makes progress towards a final deal. The President has made it abundantly clear through his words as well as his actions, that under his leadership the United States will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.  I firmly support that goal, which is why I support the extension of negotiations. During negotiations, Iran’s nuclear program will remain frozen and the painful sanctions will stay in place. The extension keeps the pressure on Iran.
 
It is clear that sanctions are having an effect, and that the economic impact has brought Iran to the negotiating table in a real way.  We should continue to pursue this path and not forget that the President has assembled a rare level of international cooperation. The European Union has put in place forceful sanctions.  China, India and South Korea are all cutting back on oil purchases from Iran or making it harder for Iran to profit.  The world has united to isolate the Iranian regime, which cannot be lost on those making decisions in Tehran.  We should allow the time and space to see if negotiations can work.

We must also remember that negotiations are difficult, and they require significant effort from all sides. The issues are complicated and politically sensitive for all parties involved. Moreover, any potential deal must be lasting, enforceable and achieve the desired outcomes. Forcing an outcome that falls short of our goals or walking away from negotiations at this point in time would not be wise.

 

Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to Secretary Hagel’s resignation:

Secretary Hagel stepped into office during a very difficult time. In addition to dealing with the mindless cuts forced on the Department of Defense through sequestration, Secretary Hagel helped manage the continued drawdown in Afghanistan, and among other issues, the challenges posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia and Ebola. These are significant challenges, and we owe Secretary Hagel a debt of gratitude for his efforts to deal with them.

Secretary Hagel has been a very good partner with Congress. He worked hard to stay in touch with us, and ensure that there was good communication and coordination. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors, and I thank him for his service.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after the Grand Jury decision on the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO:
 
"The tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson showcases major issues that need to be addressed in law enforcement throughout our country.  To best protect our communities, it is critical that law enforcement work to develop and improve relationships with the communities they serve.  This requires a police force that is representative of the people they serve. In Ferguson and in many cities across the country, law enforcement fails to represent the diversity of the people they are entrusted to protect.  Additionally, the militarization of some of our law enforcement has led many to view police as an outsider and a threat, rather than a protector. I will do all I can in Congress to push for these changes."