Right Now

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s vote to declassify Findings, Conclusions and Executive Summary of its study on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Detention and Interrogation Program:

“I agree that some of the more extreme Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) could be considered torture, and that in the future this country should not rely on such techniques.  Yet, at the time, they had legal sanction.  Readers of the report will make their own judgments about how they were implemented.  I believe that the CIA acted imperfectly, but in good faith and under great urgency to prevent an attack from a little understood enemy that had brought devastation to our shores.

“The Committee report and its supporters judge a period in history.  However, I believe the Committee failed in its mission to understand, analyze and provide recommendations on the essential role of detention and interrogation intelligence in addressing ongoing threats.  Many modern and western nations have learned that detainee intelligence – both its collection and resulting analysis – is critical and primary in addressing threats from organized armed groups.  Had this report provided insights, guidance or recommendations on how to effectively conduct coercive but lawful interrogations against terrorist threats, it would have provided guideposts to the future, rather than just critiques of the past.  Successful intelligence, after all, is about mitigating future threats.”

“I voted present because the Chairman decided to limit the vote to the question of declassifying a report the Committee approved when I was not a Member of the Committee – it was a report I was never able to approve or disapprove – but I chose not to vote against declassification.  Regardless, I acknowledge that this report – and its dissenting Minority views, as well as the CIA’s response – will now become part of the public debate about a program that was terminated in the previous decade.  As the report, the dissenting views, and the CIA’s response will show, this report does not settle many issues, and the debates, both about history and the future, will continue.”