Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence expressed outrage Thursday over President Trump’s suggestion this week that he is considering allowing U.S. officials to restart a program that used enhanced interrogation techniques tantamount to torture against terrorism suspects.
In a letter to Mr. Trump, six Democrats and one independent on the committee called on the president to read the classified version of the committee’s 2014 report on a now-shuttered CIA detention and interrogation program before considering the possible resumption of such activities.
The CIA program was active during the years after 9/11. An unclassified version of the 2014 report outlined the committee’s finding that enhanced interrogation techniques such as “waterboarding” are not an effective means of obtaining accurate information from suspects.
“To avoid making the mistakes of the past, it is of the utmost importance that you familiarize yourself with, and ensure that any Executive Branch officials involved in the formation of detention and interrogation policy review, the full Committee Study,” Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the intelligence committee’s ranking Democrat, said in the letter to Mr. Trump.
The letter was signed by committee Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Angus King, an independent of Maine.
No Republicans signed the letter.
The issue burst to the forefront in Washington this week after news organizations obtained a purported draft of a presidential order that would keep open the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and lift a the ban “black site” prisons and revive torture tactics.
Mr. Trump defended the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspects Wednesday, defying outrage from Capitol Hill and human rights advocates.
While Mr. Trump did not explicitly propose bringing back waterboarding, he said in an interview on ABC News that “it works.”