Many Republicans are furious at Tuesday’s release of the so-called “torture report,” but Sen. John McCain, who himself spent years confined as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, defended the exhaustive look at the CIA’s behavior post-Sept. 11, saying Americans must “know what was done in their name.”
“The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. It sometimes causes us difficulties at home and abroad. It is sometimes used by our enemies in attempts to hurt us. But the American people are entitled to it, nonetheless,” Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, said on the Senate floor, just minutes after intelligence committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein announced the report.
Her investigation concluded that CIA leaders misled Congress and others over the extent of the techniques they were using.
Mr. McCain said he has long believed some of the techniques constituted torture — a characterization the CIA and top Bush administration officials reject.
And he disputed the CIA’s contention that the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” as the CIA referred to them, helped lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden.
“What might come as a surprise, not just to our enemies, but to many Americans, is how little these practices did to aid our efforts to bring 9/11 culprits to justice and to find and prevent terrorist attacks today and tomorrow,” Mr. McCain said. “That could be a real surprise, since it contradicts the many assurances provided by intelligence officials on the record and in private that enhanced interrogation techniques were indispensable in the war against terrorism. And I suspect the objection of those same officials to the release of this report is really focused on that disclosure — torture’s ineffectiveness — because we gave up much in the expectation that torture would make us safer. Too much.”