WASHINGTON, DC -- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning after President Bush vetoed the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report because it included a provision extending the Army Field Manual's prohibition on torture to intelligence community personnel:
"The President's veto of this critical legislation is a deeply misguided and harmful mistake that threatens to further undermine our credibility in the international community and to expose our military and intelligence personnel to the very same tactics and treatment. It is unfortunate, but friend and foe alike will interpret this veto as nothing more than a hypocritical American effort to reserve for itself the tactics that we so often correctly deride and castigate.
"Quite simply, torture - whether it is called that or something more sanitized, such as 'specialized interrogation procedures' - is immoral and violates the values that our great nation was founded upon. In addition, military and civilian intelligence officials have repeatedly stated that torture is unnecessary and in any event has limited value. Even General Petraeus, our top commander in Iraq, stated last year, 'Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary.'
"In addition, this legislation also would have authorized critical programs and resources for our intelligence community which works diligently to keep us safe. The House of Representatives will attempt to override this unjustified veto soon. If we fail to do so, we will continue to make the case against torture for the remainder of the Bush Administration and urge the incoming Administration to take a position that comports with our American values and strengthens our national security."