With world watching health summit, Dems sneak in bill to punish CIA 

I just got an urgent call from a Republican source on the House Intelligence Committee. The House is about to debate the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 2701), and, with all eyes are on the health care summit, Democrats have slipped into the bill a new provision that would establish criminal punishments for CIA agents and other intelligence officials who engage in "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" during interrogations.

The Democratic addition is called the "Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogations Prohibition Act of 2010," and it was inserted into the larger intelligence bill without being considered by the House Intelligence Committee. It covers "any officer or employee of the intelligence community" who, during an interrogation, engages in beatings, the infliction pain, forced sexual acts, inducing hypothermia, conducting mock executions or "depriving the [detainee] of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care." The bill gives Congress flexibility in defining just what those terms mean, and it would provide for punishments of up to 20 years in prison and life behind bars if a detainee dies as a result of the interrogation.

"This was done without committee review and without any feedback or input from the CIA," says the House source. "It just showed up in the middle of the night. It specifically targets those who are keeping us safe. It doesn't respond to what happened at Ft. Hood or Detroit. Instead, it targets the CIA for new criminal punishments."

Republicans say they will try to strip the measure out of the larger intelligence bill. But first they're trying to make sure people know what is going on.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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