WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two members of The Constitution Project's independent bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment will meet with British government officials in London today to discuss ways that that the two countries can work together to promote better policies regarding the detention and treatment of suspected terrorists.
Asa Hutchinson, a former undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security during the administration of President George W. Bush, and Thomas R. Pickering, a career ambassador and former undersecretary at the State Department in the administration of President Clinton, will speak with members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition (APPG) and other interested parties at the invitation of Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP for Chichester and chairman of the APPG.
"We hope our joint efforts will contribute to a more open dialogue about the way we treated detainees in our custody in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11," said Hutchinson, one of the co-chairs of the Task Force.
"Only through an honest and thorough reckoning with the past can we be confident that we have built the necessary safeguards - legal, institutional and cultural - to better address the way we handle those in our custody during the next crisis and ones after that," he said.
The Task Force released a comprehensive report in April that concluded American intelligence and military personnel used interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere that in many instances amounted to torture, in violation of U.S. laws and international treaties. The report also concluded that the U.S. and U.K. governments collaborated on the extraordinary renditions of numerous detainees to third countries where they were, in fact, tortured.
"It is in the national interest of not just the United States, but also of Britain, to get to the truth about the scope of the extraordinary rendition programme. Rendition makes us less safe not more so. It is not only repugnant but inexpedient. The mistreatment and torture of detainees has eroded public trust, making the gathering of reliable intelligence information by the security services more difficult," Tyrie said.
TCP's Task Force on Detainee Treatment was created in late 2010 to examine the past and current treatment of suspected terrorists detained by the U.S. government. It comprises former high-ranking American officials with distinguished careers in the judiciary, U.S. Congress, military, diplomatic service, and other areas of the executive branch, as well as experts in ethics, law and medicine.
The report is available from http://detaineetaskforce.org.