Rep. Silvestre Reyes backs away from torture prohibition amendment
By Darren Meritz / El Paso Times
Posted: 02/26/2010 12:22:24 PM MST
EL PASO -- U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes has backed away from an amendment to the intelligence authorization bill. It would have imposed criminal penalties for intelligence officers found guilty of using torture to gain information.
Reyes, who sponsored the overall bill as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said today that he did not support the amendment.
"I thought it was completely unnecessary," said Reyes, D-El Paso. "It wasn't written or crafted very well. It just said make sure you follow the speed limit."
The amendment was called The Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010.
The House voted 235-168 today to approve the intelligence authorization bill after stripping the amendment from it.
Reyes said the president through executive order already requires intelligence officers to follow the Army Field Manual. The manual details proper methods for interrogations.
Inclusion of the amendment was pushed by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington. The amendment would have imposed criminal penalties of up to life in prison if an intelligence officer tortured a suspect.
The amendment also defined cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to include forcing an individual to perform sexual acts, use of electric shock, depriving an individual of food, water, sleep or medical care, conducting mock executions, and prolonged isolation.
Darren Meritz may be reached at dmeritz@...
See Saturday's El Paso Times for the full story.