Today, the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, containing a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that establishes one interrogation standard, requiring the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and banning waterboarding. linkageMcCain voted no.
Of course, this is not really breaking news since he scored a deal with the Torturer in Chief over a year ago to provide a loophole for "enhanced interrogation techniques".
Then came that dramatic December 15th handshake between Bush and McCain, a veritable media mirage that concealed furious back-room maneuvering by the White House to undercut the amendment. A coalition of rights groups, including Amnesty International, had resisted the executive's effort to punch loopholes in the torture ban but, in the end, the White House prevailed. With the help of key senate conservatives, the Bush administration succeeded in twisting what began as an unequivocal ban on torture into a legitimization of three controversial legal doctrines that the administration had originally used to justify torture right after 9/11.As an Arizonan, I can't decide which is worse: John McCain conveniently, and repeatedly, stepping out of votes for fear of accountability, or actually having him show up and endorse the most egregious actions by government interrogators. Either way, he is unfit for President.
In an apparent compromise gesture, McCain himself inserted the first major loophole: a legal defense for accused CIA interrogators that echoes the administration's notorious August 2002 torture memo allowing any agents criminally charged to claim that they "did not know that the practices were unlawful."Amnesty International