October 5, 2005

Contact: Media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - In anticipation of tonight's Senate approval of an anti-torture amendment to the Defense Department spending bill by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the American Civil Liberties Union applauded McCain's push for reform and urged the administration to drop its veto threat. The legislation has strong bipartisan support, but the president has said he would veto the entire defense bill if it is included.

McCain's proposal uses the Army's field manual on interrogations as the legal standard for interrogation policies. McCain, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, said following those procedures would have prevented abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

"Despite the Bush administration's efforts, the torture issue has not gone away and we applaud Senator McCain for his proposal. The highest levels of our government have not been held accountable and it's clear that this administration lacks the political will to enforce proper interrogation policies. Instead of taking proactive steps to hold officials accountable, we see chief architects of torture policies receive promotions. Right now, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the administration's nomination of Timothy Flanigan for deputy attorney general, even though he played a key role in approving torture policies at the White House and is on record defending water-boarding.

"This proposal is an important first step in assuring the American people that the United States is committed to eliminating abusive interrogation procedures and restoring the rule of law. This is something on which both Democrats and Republicans can agree."

To read the ACLU's letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Timothy Flanigan's record, go to:

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