Home About Us NRCAT Press Releases National Defense Authorization Act

National Defense Authorization Act

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2011
Contact: Samantha Friedman, office: (202) 265-3000 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

People of faith grateful Senate opposed return to days of secret torture, but decry legislation authorizing indefinite detention

Washington, D.C. – During this week’s debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate considered a series of issues relating to the treatment of detainees.  Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, expressed relief the Senate did not take up Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s amendment that would have created a secret list of permissible interrogation techniques separate from those approved by the Army Field Manual, yet expressed dismay that the Senate bill authorizes indefinite detention.

NRCAT released the following statement:

“We are grateful to the Senate leadership for its wisdom in not taking up Senator Ayotte’s amendment to create a secret list of interrogation techniques that breach the boundaries laid out in the Army Field Manual.  Such an amendment would have rolled back President Obama’s executive order banning torture and potentially returned us to the dark days of secret torture. 

Unfortunately, the Senate did include in the National Defense Authorization Act language that codifies the use of indefinite detention without trial – potentially including American citizens captured in the United States.  Endowing the military with such extreme power runs counter to American democratic tradition.

As people of faith, we are sad that by codifying indefinite detention, the Senate moved us away from American values.  But on the other hand, we extend our gratitude to the Senate leadership for not reopening the question of secret torture.  Our country has banned the use of torture during interrogations, and we are better for it.”

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