ACLU Praises Adoption of Amendment Requiring Video Recording of Interrogations

May 23, 2008 12:00 am

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House of Representatives Adds Amendment to the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act

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WASHINGTON, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union praises last night’s House of Representatives floor vote that adopted, by a margin of 218-192 (including 15 Republicans) the Holt/Tauscher/Grijalva/Schakowsky Amendment to the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment requires the recording and retention of videos of strategic interrogations of persons under the custody or control of the Defense Department. The amendment would bring these interrogations into line with recommended best practices for military and law enforcement interrogations – increasing accountability for compliance with the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment and other anti-torture laws.

“It is time to turn on the cameras and stop the torture. This amendment does much to restore justice and humanity to our nation’s interrogation policies,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Representatives Holt, Tauscher, Grijalva and Schakowsky deserve our commendation for offering this vital amendment that begins to undo the damage done to our nation’s values caused by recent revelations of torture by American personnel.”

“This straightforward videotaping requirement may do more to shut down the government’s torture program than many of the new laws passed by Congress,” said Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “Federal interrogators will soon learn what hundreds of police departments using videotape for interrogations have learned – it’s harder to break the law when the camera is running.”

The Holt/Tauscher/Grijalva/Schakowsky Amendment passed by a vote of 218-192, with 15 Republicans and 23 Democrats breaking party ranks. Last year, the amendment lost, with 12 Republicans and 44 Democrats breaking party ranks, meaning the amendment’s sponsors, the ACLU, and other opponents of torture picked up 3 Republicans and 21 Democrats since last year’s vote.

The ACLU letter to House of Representatives urging support of the Video Recording of Interrogations Amendment is available at:

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