News Release

Bush and McCain on Torture


President George W. Bush said in his latest weekend radio address: “Congress recently sent me an intelligence authorization bill that would diminish these vital tools. So today, I vetoed it. And here is why: The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.”

Also, see the The San Francisco Chronicle article “McCain Supports Bush Veto of Bill Banning Torture” on Common Dreams.

Provance, a former sergeant specializing in intelligence analysis was stationed for five months Abu Ghraib at the hight of the abuses there. He said today: “Bush is saying that if they’re not allowed to do these things, then it’s somehow dangerous. It’s really manipulative, trying to sell this to the public as if there’s no other way that he claims they can get this kind of information.

“It has been my experience with interrogators that these methods don’t work. It works in the movies, but not real life. This ‘ticking time bomb’ notion is totally exceptional. Nothing useful came out of all the techniques employed at Abu Ghraib that resulted in scandal. And the people we tortured, when they got out would join the insurgency — because they were tortured. It actually did the opposite of its stated goal. It’s morally wrong, and it’s not pragmatic. In addition, torture affects the torturer as well — Abu Ghraid made monsters out of people.”

Provance wrote the piece “Army Adds Farce to Abu Ghraib Shame.”

Just after blowing the whistle on conduct at Abu Ghraib, Provance was stripped of his security clearance; see ABC News’s “Staffer Cites Abu Ghraib Cover-Up: Former Abu Ghraib Intel Staffer Says Army Concealed Involvement in Abuse Scandal.”

McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early sixties and then a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990. McGovern said today: “On Sept. 6, 2006, Army intelligence chief Lt. Gen. John Kimmons, conceding past ‘transgressions and mistakes,’ stated in no uncertain terms: ‘No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.’

“Now tell me that didn’t take some guts. Kimmons was well aware that less than two hours later President Bush would be bragging about the Cheney/Bush ‘alternative set of procedures for interrogation’ and appealing (successfully) for legislation enabling the CIA to continue using them. (It is a good sign that the Army has been able to protect Kimmons, who still holds the top intelligence job.)

“Cheney/Bush/Addington are not about to let the elastic guidelines governing CIA interrogators go by the board. The question is what they see in advertising and using such procedures as though they can be effective in yielding good intelligence. There ARE other reasons, which Americans should know about.

“On Sept. 6, 2006 Bush crowed about successes from ‘tough’ techniques forbidden in the Army Field Manual, but his tales were tall ones and could not bear close scrutiny. That has not changed. Senate intelligence committee chair Jay Rockefeller has already responded to Bush’s claims on Saturday, saying, ‘I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an imminent terrorist attack.'”

McGovern has written the pieces “Torture With Decency and Compassion: Waterboarding for God and Country” and “Are Americans Really ‘Better Than That?’

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167