Statement on Override Vote on President’s Veto of Intelligence Authorization Bill

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... distinguished gentleman from maryland, a member of the leadership of this house, the majority leader and one that is proud to stand up against torture and for the american people, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one minute. mr. hoyer: i thank my friend for yielding. in response to the distinguished rank -- ranking member of the committee, let me read a statement from the march 8, 2008, the president's veto message. my disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique. for instance, it is not over water boarding. which is not part of the current c.i.a. program. he doesn't say that it will not be a part of the c.i.a. program. he's very carefully worded, it is not part of the current program. that is why i tell my friend, this legislation is relevant. that is why in my opinion his presidential candidate, although he seems to have changed his mind, passed his own bill which the president, of course, signed and then had a signing statement that he wasn't sure that he had to follow it, that torture was not the policy of the united states of america. i agree with that. it's not. should not be. but we need to make a very clear statement that it is not. why? because the rest of the world is looking at us and wondering what are the values that this great nation we respect so much values? mr. speaker, on saturday the president could have made a clear, unequivalentcal statement that this great nation does not and will not torture those in our custody. he should have signed this important intelligence authorization conference report into law. but instead, he vetoed it. because it requires all american intelligence agencies to comply with the u.s. army field manual on interrogations. let us be clear. this veto was unfortunate and misguided. it threatens to further degrade america's moral stnding -- standing, as others have said, including colin powell, the former secretary of state, in this administration. it threatens to undermine our credibility in the international community and to expose our own military and intelligence personnel to the very same tactics and treatment. mr. speaker, every member here believes that our nation must take decisive action to detect, disrupt and, yes, eliminate terrorists who have no problem with planning and participating in the mass killings of innocent men, women and children in an effort to advance their twisted aims. we can, we will and we must prevail on the war on terror. however, in the pursuit of those who seek to harm us, we must not sacrifice the very ideals that distinguish us from those who preach death and destruction and say that their ends justify whatever means they may use. during the current administration, we have seen the line blurred between legitimate, sanctioned interrogation tactics and torture. and there is no doubt our international reputation has suffered and been stained as a result. the excesses of abu ghraib and guantanamo are well known, as are the administration's belief that the geneva convention, against torture is -- convention against torture is and i quote, quaint. let me repeat that for my colleagues. the administration's advice that it got from council was that the geneva conventions against torture is, quote, quaint, closed quote. i would suggest to you, it is as relevant today as it was when it was signed. these incidents and others solly our nation's great reputation and allow our enemies to fullment fear and stoke hatred. requiring intelligence agencies it to comply with the field manual is an attempt by our congress, passed with majorities in both houses to repair the daniels -- the damage that has already been done of the furthermore, the techniques permitted by the army field manual have been endorsed by a wide array of civilian and military officials as both effective and consistent with our values. here in fact is what general david petraeus wrote to members of the armed forces in iraq last may. i believe it has been quoted but it bears repeating. quote, this is general petraeus. some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other ex peedyent methods to obtain information from the enemy. they would be wrong. beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they are also frequently neither useful nor ...