US Senator Proposes Ban on CIA Holding Detainees

US Senator Proposes Ban on CIA Holding Detainees

File Photo: The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia (Reuters Photo)

Washington:  The lawmaker behind the explosive US Senate report on enhanced interrogation techniques presented several torture prevention proposals on Monday to US President Barack Obama including a ban on the CIA holding detainees.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein said she would introduce legislation early in the congressional session, which begins today, that would close "torture loopholes" in the US law that bars torture but was interpreted during the administration of president George W Bush to "allow the CIA to use coercive and abusive interrogation techniques."

She will also call on Congress to require timely Red Cross access to captured detainees and improve Central Intelligence Agency accountability.

Feinstein said she would specifically seek to prohibit the CIA from holding detainees beyond a short-term transitory basis, a move aimed at preventing repeats of highly controversial interrogations at various CIA-run "black sites."

In the months and years after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, agents broke detainee bones, used "Russian Roulette" to intimidate a prisoner, and subjected detainees to painful and medically unnecessary "rectal feeding," according to the report Feinstein released December 9 outlining cases of CIA torture and other abuse.

She also issued several recommendations that the administration could implement through executive action, including the appointment of senior officials to oversee CIA covert actions and a mandate that all national security interrogations be videotaped.

"These recommendations are intended to make sure that the United States never again engages in actions that you have acknowledged were torture," Feinstein wrote to Obama.

"I believe that several of the committee's findings should prompt additional oversight and better sharing of information for all covert action and significant intelligence collection programs."

Feinstein chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee for six years until late 2014.

But with Republicans winning a Senate majority in November elections, Feinstein will no longer head the intelligence committee when Congress convenes on Tuesday, and it remained unclear how many of her legislative initiatives might be taken up by Republican leaders.

The expected incoming intelligence chairman, Senator Richard Burr, at the time called the release of the de-classified version of the report "regrettable." 

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