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Pelosi: Intelligence Bill is a Critical Step in Protecting Our Country; the President Should Sign It

February 29, 2008

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on Congress sending the fiscal year 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act Conference Report to the President. President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation because it extends the prohibition on torture contained in the Army Field Manual to Intelligence Community personnel.

“Our ability to protect and defend the American people in a dangerous world rests on nation's ability to obtain accurate, timely, and actionable intelligence. By investing in human intelligence, counterterrorism operations, and analysis, the New Direction Congress is meeting its primary obligation of making America safer. The bipartisan intelligence bill is a critical step in securing our nation, and the President should sign it.

“Extending the Army Field Manual's prohibition on torture to Intelligence Community personnel ensures that interrogation practices do not vary on an agency-by-agency basis and that practices employed are lawful, effective, and reflective of our values. Many intelligence professionals have stated that torture is ineffective: it is unlikely to produce the kind of timely and reliable information needed to disrupt terrorist plots. In addition, it increases the risks for our military personnel, diplomatic officers, and intelligence agents around the world.

“America is on stronger ground ethically and morally when our practices for holding and interrogating captives are consistent with the Geneva Conventions–when we do not torture. We can and must protect America while preserving our country's deeply held principles and restoring our reputation in the world.”