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Congress left in dark on torture

August 19, 2009

Re "On the trail of torture," Editorial, Aug. 13

Your editorial claims that Congress was complicit in Bush administration human rights abuses.

Here are the facts:

Until Sept. 6, 2006, only a handful of members of Congress were aware of the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to prohibit the CIA's use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" -- the same standard as the Geneva Convention.

After learning of the CIA program, Congress took action. I introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2008 intelligence authorization bill to limit the CIA to interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual. It was approved by Congress -- but vetoed by President Bush.

Finally, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chair, is conducting a sweeping review of the CIA's detention and interrogation practices. It is the most extensive effort of its kind and will continue regardless of whether the attorney general decides to investigate.

Dianne Feinstein

Washington

The writer is a U.S. senator from California.

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