US Senate votes to bar torture

Amendment to defense spending bill passed in landslide 78-21 vote

US Senate votes to bar torture


The Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to outlaw torture as official U.S. policy.

Introduced by Sens. John McCain and Dianne Feinstein, the amendment to the 2016's defense spending bill passed in a landslide 78-21 vote.

“I believe past interrogation policies compromised our values, stained our national honor and did little practical good,” McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said on the Senate floor. “This amendment provides greater assurances that never again will the United States follow that dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs.”

Torture is currently banned across the federal government by President Barack Obama’s executive order, but Tuesday’s vote takes one step closer to barring the controversial practice under U.S. law.                                      

The vote comes six months after the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Feinstein, issued a report outlining the CIA's brutal use of torture.

At the time, Obama, who banned the agency’s detention and interrogation program shortly after he assumed office in 2009, said the report “reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.” 

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