INHOFE STATEMENT ON TERRORIST - DETAINEE TREATMENT BILL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today released the following statement in response to the Senate Armed Services Committee approval of legislation authored by Senators McCain (R-Ariz.), Warner (R-Va.) and Graham (R-S.C.) addressing the treatment of terrorists detainees:

“Last week President Bush requested that Congress clearly define rules surrounding terrorist interrogations and the treatment of enemy combatants. Unfortunately, the legislation passed yesterday will only serve to weaken our defenses against the enemy.

“Common Article 3, the standard that now applies to the treatment of detainees by U.S. personnel, is currently vague and undefined. Yesterday’s legislation does nothing to clarify what is, and is not, allowed by our interrogators -the very problem the President had asked us to solve.

“It’s hard for me to believe that any U.S. interrogator will understand what ‘cruel or inhuman treatment’ means and our intelligence will suffer greatly as a result of such vague language. The issue at hand is saving American lives by gathering the best possible intelligence from the enemy – yesterday’s legislation will only hinder that effort.

“In the Hamdan case the Supreme Court told Congress to do our job, to clarify the law. We must make the Detainee Treatment Act our interpretation of Common Article 3 and we should not leave this up to the interpretation of courts that come and go. We need to make this the ‘law of the land’ and encourage other nations to follow suit.

“As the President said today, ‘the bottom line is … the [CIA] program won't go forward if there's vague standards applied like those in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.’ Not having this program will put Americans at risk by leaving us unable to gather the vital intelligence needed to fight this enemy.

“Even more ridiculous, this legislation prohibits our courts from using classified information as evidence against terrorists on trial without sharing that classified intelligence with the terrorist and their lawyers. We cannot, for any reason afford to pull back the curtain and show the enemy EXACTLY how America’s crucial intelligence is gathered.

“For these reasons and more, Congress must pass the President’s bill. I was very disappointed that four Republicans: Sens. McCain, Warner, Collins and Graham sided with the Democrats on this issue. In the coming weeks I will work with my eight Republican colleagues on the Armed Services Committee who also voted AGAINST this legislation to ensure that the President’s bill is passed.”