[Congressional Record: March 11, 2008 (House)]
[Page H1503-H1514]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The unfinished business is the further 
consideration of the veto message of the President on the bill (H.R. 
2082) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for intelligence 
and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, 
the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency 
Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is, will the House, on 
reconsideration, pass the bill, the objections

[[Page H1504]]

of the President to the contrary notwithstanding?
  (For veto message, see proceedings of the House of March 10, 2008, at 
page H1419)
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Reyes) is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield the 
customary 30 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Hoekstra). Pending that, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of overriding the President's veto. 
This year, for the first time in 3 years, the Congress passed an 
intelligence authorization act and presented it to the President. This 
was something that had proved impossible for a Republican-controlled 
House and a Republican-controlled Senate. In recent years, while the 
bill passed the House, it never even got to conference. When I took 
over as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I made passing an 
authorization all the way through conference a high priority. It wasn't 
easy, but I thought it was crucial that we revitalize the oversight 
process, and I committed to getting an authorization bill not only 
passed through the House but sent to the President.
  The intelligence community, by its very nature, presents a very 
difficult oversight challenge for Congress. This is why the 
intelligence authorization bill is so critical. It is the culmination 
of the committee's oversight activities conducted over the previous 
year. Intelligence funding is one of the few areas where the law 
requires funds to be both appropriated and authorized. Our 
constituents, of course, are demanding that we weigh in on all the 
important intelligence-related challenges that our Nation is facing.
  This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of 
the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently 
want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the 
authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or 
authorization or without any checks and balances.
  Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in 
this process. We do have a say, in the name of the United States of 
America, in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to 
override this veto.
  This legislation enhances oversight in several ways. It requires 
quarterly reports to Congress on the nuclear weapons programs of Iran 
and North Korea. We learned a lesson from the experience in Iraq. 
Congress must be careful and must be part of the process and a consumer 
of intelligence to avoid being sold a bill of goods.
  The act requires the CIA inspector general to audit covert activities 
at least once every 3 years. Covert activities are historically where 
our intelligence community runs into legal and policy trouble. An 
independent CIA audit is one way to prevent problems that have 
embarrassed our Nation and have eroded our moral authority.
  The authorization act also requires detailed accounting to Congress 
on the use of intelligence contractors. The use of contractors has 
grown exponentially, and no one is asking critical management questions 
about whether this is a good use of taxpayer money.
  An important substantive provision of the legislation also requires 
the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community to abide by the same 
regulations that DOD follows in the context of interrogations. If it's 
not permissible for soldiers in Iraq, where they face a life-or-death 
threat daily, it shouldn't be permissible for a CIA officer or 
  Mr. Speaker, if this veto stands, all of these important oversight 
provisions will disappear. If we believe in strong oversight, we need 
to override this veto.
  In addition to addressing long ignored oversight issues, the 
legislation is fundamentally the mechanism for authorizing funds for 
the intelligence community. This legislation authorizes funds for the 
full range of critical intelligence activities. It authorizes funds to 
support counterterrorism operations to keep Americans safe today, and 
it authorizes funds for the strategic intelligence investments to keep 
Americans safe in the future.
  Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, the Intelligence 
Committee will be silent on these important authorization issues. Once 
more, we'll have no authorization bill.
  The bill also addresses some persistent management problems in the 
intelligence community. It requires steps towards a multi-level 
security clearance system to recruit more native speakers of critical 
languages into our intelligence community. It takes important steps 
towards creating a more diverse workforce to strengthen our ability to 
collect intelligence all over the world.
  Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, it's business as 
usual. No new solutions, just the same old intelligence problems.
  I have visited the patriotic men and women of the intelligence 
community in the far corners and in the far reaches all over the globe. 
They deserve our support. They are brave, they are competent, and, in 
most cases, they are humbled to be doing the job to keep us safe. Many 
serve our Nation behind the scenes and at great risk, without any 
expectation of recognition or congratulations. For them, and for all 
Americans, this is important legislation.
  The intelligence community came to us for money, they came to us for 
tools, and they came to us for new authorities. We gave them what they 
asked for. The President, with his veto, is denying them those very 
things simply because he wants no limits on his Presidential power.
  So today, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote to override the 
President's veto.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, this bill is just the latest example of the complete and 
utter failure of the Democratic leadership in the House to give the 
intelligence community the tools that it needs to protect the American 
people and our allies from radical jihadists who have sworn to wage 
holy war against freedom in order to impose a radical religious 
tyranny. I urge my colleagues to oppose this override of the 
President's veto.
  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are finding out how 
tough it is to pass legislation in the intelligence area. But the 
lesson they need to learn, this is about national security, and 
national security issues need to be done on a bipartisan basis, can not 
be done on a purely partisan basis.
  The debate on this authorization bill is not about a single issue, as 
some would have you believe. It is about the need to ensure that we 
give the right tools to our intelligence professionals in this time of 
enhanced threat. What we should be talking about today is improving 
this bill so that it can have broad bipartisan support.
  But we also ought to be talking about FISA, FISA modernization. That 
is the vote that this House should be considering. That is the tool 
that our intelligence community has said that they need to keep America 
safe. That is the tool that, on a broad bipartisan basis, the model for 
how we should be doing legislation in this area. It's how they did it 
in the Senate, 68 Senators on a bipartisan basis saying we need to do 
FISA reform. We need to do it to keep America safe, to keep our 
homeland safe, to keep our troops safe, to keep our embassies and our 
personnel overseas safe, and to make sure that we also have the tools 
in place that so many of our allies rely on to keep them safe.
  But no, once again, this House moves in a partisan basis. It's been 
almost 25 days now that the leadership on the other side of the aisle 
has refused to even bring up for a vote FISA modernization. Each and 
every day, our capabilities in this area erode. One of the most 
important and one of the most successful tools that we have used to 
keep America safe over the last 7 years is slowly eroding. My 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle will not even allow it to 
come up for a vote.
  The United States continues to employ tough antiterrorist programs 
because the radical jihadist threat did not end with 9/11. One only has 
to listen to the statements by bin Laden, his deputy, Zawahiri, to 
understand the seriousness of this threat, its global implications, and 
the determination of radical jihadists to strike the American homeland.

[[Page H1505]]

  But instead of doing a bipartisan, national security issue, we 
continue to move down the path of partisan politics. The majority 
leadership of this House refuses to see or hear the continuing threat 
from radical jihadists. Even more troubling, the majority refuses to 
recognize that tough antiterrorist tools employed since 2001 have 
protected this country from terrorist attacks.

                              {time}  1730

  Instead, some have distorted anti-terrorist programs as threats to 
the American people rather than tools that our intelligence agencies 
are using to protect us from threats of radical jihadist terrorism. 
Instead of helping to strengthen anti-terrorist tools, my colleagues on 
the other side of the aisle have established a clear patent of trying 
to undermine and erode them, undermining and eroding the very type of 
people that we should be trying to help with this bill, the men and 
women who risk their lives each and every day in the intelligence 
community to keep America safe.
  There is no better example than the outright refusal of the majority 
leadership to allow a straight up-or-down vote on bipartisan FISA 
modernization legislation.
  Again, this is a bill that passed the Senate overwhelmingly, clearly 
supported by a majority of this House. There's ample reason to be 
concerned about this abuse of the majority's powers. I'm far more 
concerned at the impact that these actions are continuing to have and 
the capabilities of our intelligence professionals to protect our 
country, our people, and our allies from attack.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I want to bring us back on point by yielding 
3 minutes to my good friend from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), the chairman 
of the Armed Service Committee.
  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas, the 
chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and a very valuable 
senior member of our committee, the Armed Services Committee.
  I rise in strong support of H.R. 2082. This bill makes us safer from 
terrorists and other adversaries in a number of ways: the bill makes 
critical investments in human intelligence, counter-terrorism 
operations, counter-proliferation, counter-intelligence, analysis and 
language skills.
  In addition, Chairman Reyes' conference report includes a provision 
which requires that all interrogations conducted by intelligence agents 
and contractors comply with the Army Field Manual on Interrogation. Our 
military already has raised its standards.
  Since September 2006, all interrogations which are conducted by the 
men and women in uniform are conducted by non-military personnel on a 
detainee who is otherwise in custody of the U.S. military and must 
provide and must abide by the Army Field Manual. The manual 
specifically prohibits eight interrogation techniques, including 
waterboarding. Waterboarding is the technique which originated during 
the Spanish Inquisition and makes the person who is being interrogated 
feel as though he is drowning.
  One of the wisest of our Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin, once told 
us: ``Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little 
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'' But that's where 
we find ourselves on this issue.
  All of the very senior civilians in the administration continue to 
waffle on whether waterboarding continues and constitutes torture or 
cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment. Our military has stood up 
against this widely condemned practice. Our military understands the 
impact of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do 
unto you.
  Our military also appreciates that approved interrogation techniques 
that are not cruel and inhumane or degrading have provided valuable 
intelligence which has helped captured terrorist kingpins and foiled 
terrorist attacks against our country as well as our allies. The sooner 
that we reclaim our moral authority in the world by clearly 
articulating which techniques we find to be abhorrent, regardless of 
the nationality of the interrogator, the sooner we can better protect 
our homeland and our folks in uniform who are in harm's way.
  I strongly encourage all of my colleagues in this body on both sides 
of the aisle to strengthen our national security by supporting this 
very fine bill.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield 4 minutes to a 
member of the committee from Texas (Mr. Thornberry).
  Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill and in 
opposition to overriding the President's veto. I think it's fine for us 
to stand up here on the floor and make all of the speeches we want 
about what the administration has or has not done that we like; there 
are some of those criticisms of the administration that I might well 
agree with about what they've done in the past. But I think it is a far 
different thing to stand up here and argue that we should put into law 
a measure that ties the hands of the professionals we expect to keep us 
  This bill ties the hands of our national security professionals in a 
number of ways. One way is that it does not update the FISA law, which 
may well be the most important single thing the intelligence community 
does today that helps keep us safe. And, in fact, as the gentleman from 
Michigan noted, we are nearly 30 days beyond the expiration date of the 
Protect America Act; and every day that goes by makes us more 
vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
  A bipartisan compromise in the other body garnered 68 votes, and yet 
we can't even have the leadership of this House bring it up for a vote 
to be considered so that each individual Member can exercise his 
judgment or his or her judgment or conscience in how they vote. If that 
measure had been rejected by the House, it would be one thing; but to 
never allow it to come up means that the leadership of this House 
insists on tying our hands, preventing our national security 
professionals from having the tools they need to do the job. I think 
that's inexcusable.
  This measure before us also ties the hands of our national security 
professionals by limiting the interrogation techniques they can use, 
and even more than that, by broadcasting to the world the only 
interrogation techniques which can be used. It's like giving al Qaeda 
the training manual that they need to prepare their people for. And I 
know that the chairman of the Armed Services Committee just spoke. I 
wonder if he would be in support of just sending our battle plans out 
to any potential adversary saying this is what we are planning on 
doing. You all go ahead and get ready for it. We will tell you in 
advance what our intentions are. That's essentially what this bill 
  And I note, Mr. Speaker, a writer, Stuart Taylor of National Journal, 
last December put the scenario pretty well. He says, Imagine we get 
Osama bin Laden or some high-level lieutenant with the intelligence 
reports that a massive new al Qaeda attack may be eminent. Here are the 
questions all Members ought to answer when considering how they're 
going to vote: Should it be illegal for CIA interrogators to try to 
scare the person into talking by yelling at them? Should it be illegal 
to threaten to slap them in some way? Should it be illegal to pretend 
to be an interrogator from a different country? Should it be illegal to 
turn up the air-conditioning so they are uncomfortably cold? Should it 
be illegal to deny them hot food while giving them all of the cold food 
that they want?
  Because all of those things would be illegal under the provision 
that's in this bill. It is not about waterboarding. It is about having 
a guarantee of hot food, comfortable temperature, no sort of deception, 
having no one raise their voice against you. Those are the protections 
for the terrorists that are in this bill.
  I think that's a mistake. I think it is a mistake to tell them what 
we are going to do, and I think it is a mistake to take options off the 
table like turning up the air-conditioning.
  These provisions, not having the FISA modernization, limiting their 
interrogation methods, treat our American professionals as the problem, 
and that's the problem with this bill. It should be rejected.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, continuing on this parallel universe, I now 
yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Eshoo), who 
chairs one of

[[Page H1506]]

our subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community 
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I thank our very distinguished, wonderful 
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  We are here this evening for one reason and one reason only: it is to 
override the President's veto of the House authorization for the 
intelligence community. And the reason, the stated reason, and the 
President said so, the reason he vetoed the bill is because he is for 
torture. T-o-r-t-u-r-e. It's what the President said.
  This is a very sad, dark moment for our country that a President of 
the United States would remove all of the tools that we've provided for 
the intelligence community in a post-9/11 world and say, Because you 
don't allow torture, I'm not for the bill.
  Now, the President's position is entirely inconsistent with our 
Nation's history. The United States of America has long accepted that 
torture is beneath the standard of a civil nation. In 1947, the United 
States prosecuted a Japanese military officer for carrying out a form 
of water torture on a U.S. civilian. The military has frequently 
prosecuted American military personnel for subjecting prisoners to 
torture since the Spanish-American War.
  Our Nation was able to win two world wars and defeat a rising tide of 
communism with a torture prohibition in place. And I think that we can 
defeat America's enemies today without lowering ourselves, without 
allowing ourselves to become the organizers against us. That's what we 
have done. And we have not only degraded ourselves but helped to chip 
away at the magnificent credibility of our great Nation that people 
before us provided, and now we stand on their shoulders. And a 
President of the United States vetoes a bill because he stands for 
torture. We should slam that door shut.
  And the way we do it is by overriding this President's veto. There 
isn't any room in our country for this. And for anyone to describe 
these things as being sissies because you stand against torture, that 
is really shameful. That's really shameful, with all due respect.
  This is a tough position. It's the right position.
  So I urge my colleagues to vote to override the President's veto 
because that veto was about torture.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. At this point in time, I would like to yield 4 minutes 
to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake).
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring another aspect for 
sustaining the President's veto that hasn't been talked about yet.
  When this bill was brought to the floor initially, there were some 26 
earmarks in the legislation. First we were told there are no earmarks. 
Then we had kind of a wild goose chase up in the intelligence room to 
find if there were. We found out there actually were. Then we finally 
got a list, belatedly. We got the list of earmarks, I think, about 5 
hours after the deadline for us to submit a list of earmarks that we 
wanted to challenge. How convenient was that?
  And we were told, No, it is just procedural, but too late. You won't 
be able to offer any amendments. We were told at the beginning of the 
process this year that every earmark that was offered in a piece of 
legislation in a conference report, in a committee report would be able 
to be challenged on the House floor. That wasn't the case here. We had 
20-some earmarks worth about $80 million that were never challenged 
that still, to this day, cannot, have not, will not be challenged by 
this House.
  So that, for the process alone, we shouldn't go forward with this 
piece of legislation.
  These weren't just any earmarks. One, $80 million worth; and, two, 
there were big earmarks like $23 million for the National Drug 
Intelligence Center. This is a center that the President has been 
trying to shut down for years because it doesn't coordinate efforts as 
it should. It gets, I think, about $39 million in the underlying bill 
and another $21 million in earmarked money in this piece of 
legislation. That's $23 million in taxpayer dollars in this piece of 
legislation. That's $62 million in taxpayer funding for an entity that 
the President and the executive branch want to close down, but it 
happens to be in the district of a particular powerful Member, so it 
stays. Again, we weren't able to challenge that.
  That led, as we all know, to an altercation on the House floor 
between a few Members, a privileged resolution that was offered, but 
still, that earmark remains. All of these earmarks that still haven't 
been able to be challenged by the House remain in this piece of 
  Mr. Speaker, if there was ever, ever a case study in why we need an 
earmark moratorium, it is this piece of legislation that we are dealing 
with right now. No matter what you do, the earmarks remain. We even had 
a motion to instruct offered by my colleague from Michigan to take the 
earmarks in this bill out, remove them because they haven't been 
challenged, and they weren't brought to the floor in the proper manner.

                              {time}  1745

  That motion to instruct passed with a vote of 249 votes in favor. A 
sufficient number of Republicans and a significant number of Democrats 
voted for that motion to instruct to take the earmarks out, but here we 
are with this piece of legislation here again today, and every one of 
those earmarks still remains. You can't take them out.
  We have to have a moratorium on earmarks so we can address this 
process. You can have good rules. And I commended the Democrats when 
they put the rules in place in January of this year. I mentioned that I 
thought that they were, in fact, a little stronger than what we, as 
Republicans, had put there. Having said that, rules are only as good as 
your willingness to enforce them, and the rules were not enforced here.
  Again, this legislation came to the floor with earmarks that we were 
never able to challenge, that came after the deadline when we were to 
submit the list to challenge. And then the House acted, we acted to 
address, and with a clear, sufficient majority said, let's take the 
earmarks out. But still they remained.
  I urge us all to sustain the President's veto of this legislation.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I would tell the gentleman from Arizona that 
this veto is not about earmarks; it's about torture.
  With that, I now yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey 
(Mr. Holt), who serves as the chairman of the Select Intelligence 
Oversight Panel.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman of the committee.
  When Congress passed this bill last year, I lauded several of its 
features, provisions aimed at attracting and retaining people with good 
foreign language capability and understanding of foreign cultures, a 
provision bringing speed to security clearance processes for new hires, 
the provision directing the Director of National Intelligence to 
establish a multilevel security clearance process, a provision 
requiring the inspector general to review all covert action programs, 
and a number of other things. Getting these things right is critically 
important because intelligence is among the most important functions of 
our government.
  A good intelligence system can save lives by preventing war, or, 
should war come, by helping to win the war as quickly as possible. But 
a flawed intelligence system can be dangerous, as when intelligence is 
manipulated so as to take America to war under false pretenses, or when 
fearsome powers of the government are turned on its own citizens 
without checks and balances. Indeed, it's because this President 
opposes checks and balances on our intelligence system that we are 
forced to have this veto override today.
  Let's be clear, American personnel, civilian or military, should 
never engage in interrogation practices that amount to torture. The 
provision the President objects to would simply put the entire U.S. 
Government under one standard for interrogating detainees, the Army 
Field Manual. The heads of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the FBI 
have testified that the nontorture guidelines in this bill are adequate 
for their people to follow in interrogation of dangerous people.
  If the President were serious about restoring our reputation in the 
world and about providing moral and legal clarity for all government 
employees involved in the handling or interrogation of detainees, he 
would never have

[[Page H1507]]

vetoed this bill. Providing that moral and legal clarity is our 
constitutional obligation. And to that end, I urge my colleagues to 
join me in voting to override the President's veto.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague from 
Illinois (Mr. Kirk).
  Mr. KIRK. Mr. Speaker, I am four for five on veto overrides of our 
President, but this is not one of them.
  This bill limits our intelligence professionals at a time when we 
need more people in the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence. The bill fails to provide tools to monitor foreign 
terrorist communications when we should be monitoring more of them. And 
it also provides less resources to our own intelligence community, not 
  The bill also does have earmarks in which the committee delayed 
publication. Senators McCain and Clinton and Obama all now support a 
complete moratorium on earmarks this year, but this legislation does 
not do that.
  We not only hamstring our intelligence community by this bill, we 
waste millions of dollars on no or low quality earmarks that have 
little utility to the intelligence community. We should bring back this 
bill without any spy pork.
  Mr. Speaker, I still serve in the intelligence community. We all know 
that torture is illegal, and we all read the papers and know that all 
Republican and Democratic candidates for President are against 
waterboarding. So, in January of this year, that will be over, but the 
rest of the issues in this bill will not.
  Does this bill hamstring our community? It does. Does it fund 26 
items of spy pork? It does. And for these reasons, we should not pass 
this flawed piece of legislation.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, again I would remind the gentleman that this 
is not about spy pork; it's about torture.
  With that, I now yield 3 minutes to the gentlelady from Illinois, a 
valued member of our committee, Ms. Schakowsky.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. I thank our chairman for yielding me this time and 
for his great leadership on this issue, and for making it clear that 
this veto was about torture.
  In December, I said that restrictions on the use of torture 
represented a battle for the soul of our country. Because the President 
chose to veto this critically important piece of legislation, that 
battle continues today.
  The way we treat our prisoners is a fundamental measure of our 
character. It is what separates great nations with moral authority to 
lead from other lesser nations.
  The President's national security team has now publicly confirmed 
that the CIA waterboarded detainees. Incredibly, President Bush and his 
advisers insist that they have the legal authority to do so again and 
that they don't consider it torture. These claims have damaged our 
Nation's moral authority and credibility around the world.
  There is a simple way to restore some of our moral authority. It is 
in this bill in the form of a provision mandating that all intelligence 
agencies and those under contract or subcontract with our intelligence 
agencies comply with the U.S. Army Field Manual on interrogation 
  The interrogation rules in the Army Field Manual have served us well, 
but don't just take my word for it. Generals, intelligence 
professionals, diplomats, religious leaders, and foreign leaders, many 
of them our closest allies, have all spoken out against the use of 
coercive techniques such as waterboarding.
  Consider the words of Navy Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, Commander of 
Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which is already required to comply with 
the Army Field Manual, who recently stated that ``we get so much 
dependable information from just sitting down and having a conversation 
and treating them like human beings in a businesslike manner.'' Or what 
about the advice of the Republican Presidential nominee, Senator John 
McCain, who, before changing his mind and joining with President Bush 
to oppose this bill and with it Congress' effort to ban torture, stated 
that the issue of interrogation was ``a defining issue'' and that 
interrogation should be ``humane and yet effective.'' And that an Army 
general in Iraq had told him that ``the techniques under the Army Field 
Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn't think they 
need to do anything else.''
  In December, Congress made its voice known and passed this critically 
important bill. With one flick of his pen, the President tried to take 
our voice way. I believe it is time to say once and for all ``no'' to 
techniques like waterboarding, ``no'' to torture, and ``no'' to this 
President's attempt to legitimize his administration's political legacy 
at the cost of this Nation's moral authority.
  I urge all my colleagues to join with me in voting to override the 
President's veto.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.
  Mr. Chairman, it's interesting that this debate is about something 
that hasn't been done for 5 years. What we need to be talking about is 
what we haven't been able to do for the last 30 days.
  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are talking about a 
technique and a procedure that hasn't been used for 5 years, but 
they're unwilling to talk about the technique that enables us to 
identify what terrorists may have planned for the United States.
  They don't want to address giving the tools to Americans who work in 
the intelligence community that have proven to be effective. They're 
willing to give our playbook to al Qaeda, but at the same time they've 
taken away our most effective tool, to try to determine exactly what al 
Qaeda may be up to. It is probably the most glaring deficiency in this 
bill, but there are many others.
  It fails to provide adequate resources for human intelligence. The 
earmarks we've heard about. It fails to constrain the size of the 
intelligence bureaucracy. It fails to rationalize how we're going to 
put the intelligence community together. And then, interestingly 
enough, it continues the misplaced priorities.
  We are unwilling to deal with FISA. We are unwilling to give that 
tool to our intelligence community, but we feel that it's more than 
appropriate to tell our intelligence community to go out and conduct a 
formal assessment of ``national security,'' the national security 
aspects of global warming.
  Our intelligence professionals in the field need to be really 
wondering what's going on in the House, where they've now watched us 
for 30 days avoiding dealing with the tough issue that has proven to be 
so effective in keeping America safe, and at the same time we're 
arguing here, and the majority is arguing that, forget about 
surveilling al Qaeda and radical jihadists, take your resources and 
study national security aspects of global warming, although there's 
many other agencies that already work on that.
  So, shelve FISA. As a matter of fact, don't even talk about FISA. 
Don't even bring it to the floor. Don't do any work on it. Don't put 
any proposals out there. Have no bipartisan discussions on where we go 
with FISA. Leave that on the shelf. Let our capabilities erode. Go out 
and study global warming.
  What are the priorities of this House? How are we going to keep 
America safe when we, on one hand, handcuff our intelligence community, 
and on the other hand, we're telling them go out and study the national 
security aspects of global warming?
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, on this side, we believe that our very 
capable and dedicated men and women of the intelligence community can 
keep us safe without torture.
  I now yield 3 minutes to the newest member of our Intelligence 
Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Schiff).
  Mr. SCHIFF. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, the fight against terror is, at one level, a military 
struggle, but it is also, at its roots, a battle over hearts and minds.
  On Sunday, we suffered a major setback in that battle when the 
President of the United States vetoed legislation that would 
unequivocally state to the world that we do not condone torture in any 
form, in any place, under any circumstance. Instead, by appearing to 
abandon the rule of law by appearing to step away from the Geneva 
Conventions, by failing to renounce the use of

[[Page H1508]]

torture in the clearest of terms, we are only undermining our standing 
in the world and endangering the lives of our very own men and women.
  When the Attorney General of the United States recently testified 
before the Judiciary Committee, he could not tell us if and when 
waterboarding constituted torture. He even suggested that a 
determination whether something constitutes torture depends on who is 
being subjected to the technique and the desirability of the 
information that is being sought. His testimony was murky. It was 
ambiguous. It failed to establish any bright line for our personnel or 
for the rest of the world. He could only say that if it were done to 
him, well, then that would be torture.
  Instead, the bright line standard, if there was one to be found in 
his testimony, and the one that he asked us to hold up to the rest of 
the world, was whether or not a harsh interrogation technique is part 
of a program authorized by an attorney in the obscure Office of Legal 
Counsel. I am deeply concerned about what this says to our own 
personnel and about what it says to the rest of the world.
  This is, indeed, no intangible loss, for the effects of this failure 
of moral leadership may tragically be visited on those brave men and 
women serving in our Armed Forces.
  Who among us can fail to recall the opening ways of the Iraq war when 
American troops had been captured and were paraded in front of the 
cameras? We were disgusted with their treatment, and rightfully so. If 
we hesitate, equivocate, or otherwise fail to ban the use of 
waterboarding, how can we have any confidence that when American troops 
are captured they will not be subjected to this form of torture? How 
can we make the case that other nations or other enemies must not 
torture because we don't torture? How can we win the battle for hearts 
and minds if we surrender our most powerful weapon, the power of our 
good example?

                              {time}  1800

  Mr. Speaker, I urge the override of the President's veto.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  Again, the debate is about a bill that the President has outlined in 
his veto statement is deeply flawed, deeply flawed in the content of 
what is in the bill as to what it directs the President to do and the 
limitations that it places on the executive branch in being able to 
conduct the war against radical jihadists effectively.
  But it's also clear that the message clearly outlines the 
deficiencies of what is not in the bill: the inability and 
unwillingness of the Democratic leadership to bring to the House the 
Senate-passed FISA modernization bill; a bill that reflects the values 
of the Speaker of the House; a bill that reflects the values of the 
current Speaker of the House when she was on the Intelligence Committee 
in 2001 when these discussions were under way that talked about what do 
we need to do to give our intelligence community the tools that they 
need to keep America safe so that we can better understand the plans, 
the intentions, and the capabilities of al Qaeda and other radical 
  That is where the Terrorist Surveillance Program took root. 
Bipartisan, the President, the leadership of the House and the Senate, 
the leadership of the Intelligence Committees, and all of them united 
in saying we need to give this tool, this Terrorist Surveillance 
Program, to our intelligence community because it will allow us to 
collect the information, the data, that we can use to keep America 
safe. And that program was in place for over 5 years. It was in place 
and it proved to be very successful. And now for 30 days, almost 30 
days, we've been unable to use that tool.
  Mr. Speaker, with that I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I now yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Austin, Texas (Mr. Doggett), who was just asking me, As I traveled 
around the world, have any of our fine men and women in the 
intelligence community ever asked to be given the tool of torture? and 
I said, No.
  Mr. DOGGETT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, with this veto, President Bush has once again failed to 
safeguard our families.
  And what is this ``waterboarding'' that the President so readily 
embraces? It sounds a little like a cousin of skateboarding or 
snowboarding. But, in fact, it is a new name for an old water torture 
in which a human being is drowned. The drowning is controlled to force 
a response, but waterboarding is simply a euphemism for torture by 
  Now, President Bush is not the first Texan to think of this and to 
believe that horrific wrongs can justify drowning of the culprit. An 
earlier Texas waterboarder is not in the White House; he was sent to 
the Big House. A Texas judge said that this waterboarding Texas sheriff 
put law enforcement ``in the hands of a bunch of thugs'' that would 
``embarrass a dictator.'' The sheriff was sentenced to 10 years. That 
judge was right, and this administration is so very wrong.
  America seems to have been sentenced to 8 years of Dick Cheney, who 
claims that such water torture is a ``no brainer.'' ``No brainer''--
that sounds like a good way to describe how so many of this 
Administration's policies have been made.
  Torture is no proper tool in the arsenal of democracy. Torture is 
foreign to our values, foreign to our history, foreign to our 
religions, foreign to our laws, and it is foreign to our international 
commitments. There can be no compromise, no middle ground. We must have 
zero tolerance for torture.
  If we abandon our American values, we lose who we are. We lose our 
identity. We lose our pride as the greatest Nation in the world. And if 
the Administration and its apologists continue forcing America to 
abandon the rule of law and our long commitment to human dignity, we 
will lose the war.
  The use of torture, which President Bush's veto endorses, is not only 
un-American; it is ineffective. That is one reason why the Army Field 
Manual prohibits its use even when our military is in harm's way. As 
General David Petraeus, our commander in Iraq, wrote to his troops last 
year: ``Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history 
shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary.''
  I say follow our generals, not the Cheney ideologues, not the 
apologists. Override this veto.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  I applaud my colleagues for speaking with such passion. I wish they 
had the same passion for addressing the tools that the leadership in 
the intelligence community have said that they have needed, that our 
intelligence professionals who are in the field have said that they 
have needed to keep America safe. And this leadership has been 
unwilling to bring it up for almost 30 days.
  The tool that they want, the tool that they need, and the tool that 
has proven to be so effective is the Terrorist Surveillance Program, 
which is an updated version of FISA legislation. It takes the FISA 
legislation, it moves it forward, and it updates it. But for almost 30 
days, that tool has been eroding, putting our troops at risk, putting 
our homeland at greater risk, putting other U.S. personnel who are 
oversees at greater risk, and putting our allies who depend so often on 
the work of our intelligence community, putting them at greater risk. 
As al Qaeda in Iraq has said they want to attack Jerusalem, as 
Hezbollah has said that they intend to retaliate for the death of 
Mughniyah 3 or 4 weeks ago, as the radicals seek to destabilize the 
regimes in the Middle East of modern Islamic countries, people that are 
working with us in the war and the threat against radical jihadists, 
our answer to them is we're going to curtail our intelligence 
activities, and as a result, you will be at greater risk because we are 
going to be of less assistance. We are not going to be able to give you 
the intelligence that you've been receiving for the last 5 years 
because our techniques are limited.
  Mr. Speaker, with that I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I now yield 2 minutes to the chairwoman of 
the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing 
and Terrorism Risk Assessment, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
  Ms. HARMAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

[[Page H1509]]

  Mr. Speaker, for the last several years, Congress has been unable to 
pass an intelligence authorization bill. This means that the 
Intelligence Committee, entrusted with major responsibilities, a 
committee on which I was proud to serve for 8 years, 4 of those as 
ranking member, has been prevented from setting the direction for our 
intelligence community.
  Finally this year, Mr. Speaker, the House and Senate agreed on a 
responsible bill and included in that responsible bill language to end 
the so-called ``CIA loophole'' on interrogations. The President has 
vetoed that bill and continues to insist irresponsibly, in my view, 
that Congress shall not impose a legal framework around interrogation 
policy. I strongly disagree and rise to override his veto.
  Interrogations are a crucial tool in the effort to prevent and 
disrupt attacks against America, and Congress should not abdicate our 
obligation to legislate. Aside from stating the case, the Bush 
administration has never offered proof that extreme interrogation 
techniques like waterboarding are effective. I believe Senator John 
McCain who says that waterboarding is torture, that such techniques do 
not work.
  Article I, section 8 of our Constitution requires Congress to 
``regulate captures on land and water.'' This is our responsibility. We 
have seen the erosion of respect for America that comes from scandals 
like Abu Ghraib and incarceration without end at Guantanamo Bay. The 
military and FBI conduct interrogations under clear rules. So why can't 
the CIA?
  Mr. Speaker, my message to the White House is this: Congress is a 
coequal branch of government. The Constitution plainly gives us the 
power to legislate interrogation policy, and we must use it.
  Vote ``aye.''
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  The Detainee Treatment Act, 2005, prohibits cruel, inhumane, and 
degrading treatment, the standard found in the convention against 
torture. It applies to anyone held by U.S. authorities. We have dealt 
with that issue. We dealt with it in 2005.
  What my colleagues don't want to talk about is they don't want to 
talk about the other weaknesses in this bill. And it's clear, by what 
their actions have been for the last 4 weeks, they don't want to talk 
about FISA.
  As my former ranking member has indicated, it is tough to pass an 
authorization bill. It is tough to pass legislation. She and I worked 
together and passed, with our colleagues in the Senate, an Intelligence 
Reform Act, which in many ways has worked and in some ways we need to 
go back and take a look at. But one of the things that we learned 
through that process is to make it work, you need to do it on a 
bipartisan basis.
  The problem with this bill is that it is a partisan bill. It passed 
the Senate with a very narrow majority. It passed the House on a 
partisan vote. That's not how you're going to get it done. You're going 
to do it the same way that the Senate has done the FISA bill.
  But the interesting thing is the model for getting something done, 
which is a bipartisan bill, which is what we did on intelligence 
reform, we had Republicans and Democrats who came together to make it a 
majority; and we also had Republicans and Democrats who opposed us, and 
it was sometimes very painful. Now, when the Senate has gone through 
that process and passed a bipartisan bill on FISA, the model, 27 
Democrats, 41 Republicans coming together and modernizing FISA, the end 
result is this leadership on the House side refuses to deal with it. 
It's on every intelligence issue that we've dealt with in this 
  When it comes to national security, when it comes to intelligence, 
there is not an ounce of compromise. It's all about getting everything, 
and that's why the President vetoed this bill, because it is not a 
bipartisan bill. There are many weaknesses in it.
  All the focus on their side is torture. Talk about FISA, which makes 
a real difference to our men and women in the intelligence community 
  Mr. Speaker, with that I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, could I inquire as to the time on both sides.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Salazar). The gentleman from Texas has 5 
minutes. The gentleman from Michigan has 6\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I will yield myself 1\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, it's interesting, as we go through this process and we 
talk about what's in the bill, the provision that we are talking about, 
or at least the other side is talking about, is a provision that was 
dropped in in conference. It came from the Senate. It didn't come from 
the House. We ought to follow that model. Follow the leadership.
  It's interesting, we follow the leadership here when it's a partisan 
vote coming from the Senate; but when it's a bipartisan effort from the 
Senate, the leadership on the Democratic side will not respond and will 
not follow.

                              {time}  1815

  On this bill, we are going to sustain the veto. It is a flawed bill 
through and through. It would be interesting for this House to do the 
right thing, to have a vote on a national security issue, the 
modernization of FISA, to bring that vote. I am very much afraid that 
we are going to go home Thursday or Friday of this week and we are 
going to go on a 2-week recess and, once again, we will not have dealt 
with the modernization of FISA.
  That means that we will go through a period of 6, 7, 8 weeks of 
eroding capabilities, each and every day becoming more vulnerable to 
radical jihadists and other groups who want to harm America.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I say to the gentleman from Michigan, it 
won't be interesting if this veto is sustained. It will be a sad day 
for this country because it will be sustaining torture.
  With that, I now yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New York, the 
valued member of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler.
  Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, I joined my colleagues in writing to 
the President urging him to sign this conference report. This 
conference report contains a provision that mirrors legislation which I 
authored with Congressman Delahunt, the American Anti-Torture Act, that 
would ensure a single, uniform baseline standard for all interrogations 
conducted by the U.S. intelligence community. I applaud the leadership 
of Senator Feinstein and the other conferees for including this measure 
in the report.
  Since news of the mistreatment, and possible torture, of detainees in 
U.S. custody first surfaced, Congress has debated, and legislated, on 
the subject of the legal, and moral, limits on interrogation. Torture 
is unworthy of the United States and its people. It places every 
American, especially every American in uniform around the world, at 
grave risk.
  The United States has historically been a leader in the effort to 
establish and enforce the laws of war and the conventions against 
torture. The Army Field Manual is an outstanding example of how our 
modern military effectively gathers intelligence and observes 
international norms of conduct.
  We all understand the critical role that intelligence plays in 
helping us achieve these goals. But torture and cruel, inhuman, or 
degrading treatment, besides being contrary to our values, have proven 
not to be effective in obtaining actionable intelligence. Current and 
former members of the military have made it clear that torture doesn't 
  That includes General Petraeus, who wrote an open letter that the 
standards in the Army Field Manual ``work effectively and humanely in 
eliciting information from detainees.'' Lieutenant General Kimmons, the 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, similarly stated that ``No good 
intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. Any piece of 
intelligence which is obtained under duress, under, through the use of 
abusive techniques would be of questionable credibility.''
  Mr. Speaker, the President and this administration have repeatedly 
said that America does not torture. But most intelligent people know 
the word of this administration cannot be trusted. And to prove the 
point, when asked to place those assurances into law, the

[[Page H1510]]

President refuses. Now Congress must act to override the President's 
veto and hold him to his word.
  And later this week, we will deal with FISA. And all the nonsense 
spewed by the other side will be dealt with because we will again, as 
we did last November, pass a bill which will give every tool the 
administration says they need to them but will place it under judicial 
and congressional supervision to protect our liberties as well as our 
  I urge support of this veto override to outlaw torture once and for 
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. I yield myself 2 minutes.
  It is interesting to talk about waterboarding. It hasn't been done 
for 5 years. It is interesting to talk about we are going to get rid of 
cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. We did that in the Detainee 
Treatment Act of 2005. It is prohibited, prohibited on any person that 
is held in U.S. custody. So it is easy to talk about those things.
  It is time that the House start doing the hard stuff and the heavy 
lifting. That heavy lifting has now been put off for almost 4 weeks. 
And my fear is that we will leave without having resolved the issue 
between the House and the Senate, and we will go away for 2 more weeks 
because the House and the Democratic leadership refuses to do the heavy 
lifting and refuses to do the hard stuff. They are willing to go back 
and do the stuff that was done in 2005 and address issues that haven't 
occurred for over 5 years. But when it comes to keeping America safe 
and doing what is necessary and giving the tools to the intelligence 
community to keep us safe, leadership of this House is unwilling to act 
and is unwilling to do what is necessary.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I now yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentleman from Maryland, a member of the leadership of this House, the 
majority leader, and one that is proud to stand up against torture and 
for the American people, Mr. Hoyer.
  Mr. HOYER. I thank my friend for yielding.
  In response to the distinguished ranking member of the committee, let 
me read a statement from the President's veto message of March 8, 2008:
  ``My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular 
interrogation technique; for instance, it is not over waterboarding, 
which is not part of the current CIA program.'' He doesn't say that it 
will not be a part of the CIA program. He has very carefully worded, 
``It is not part of the current program.''
  That is why I tell my friend this legislation is relevant. That is 
why, in my opinion, his Presidential candidate, although he seems to 
have changed his mind, passed his own bill, which the President, of 
course, signed and then had a signing statement that he wasn't sure 
that he had to follow it, that torture was not the policy of the United 
States of America. I agree with that. It's not. It should not be. But 
we need to make a very clear statement that it is not. Why? Because the 
rest of the world is looking at us and wondering what are the values 
that this great Nation we respect so much values?
  Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, the President could have made a clear, 
unequivocal statement that this great Nation does not and will not 
torture those in our custody. He should have signed this important 
intelligence authorization conference report into law. But instead, he 
vetoed it, because it requires all American intelligence agencies to 
comply with the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogations.
  Let us be clear: This veto was unfortunate and misguided. It 
threatens to further degrade America's moral standing as others have 
said, including Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State in this 
administration. It threatens to undermine our credibility in the 
international community and to expose our own military and intelligence 
personnel to the very same tactics and treatment.
  Mr. Speaker, every Member here believes that our Nation must take 
decisive action to detect, disrupt, and, yes, eliminate terrorists who 
have no compunction about planning and participating in the mass 
killings of innocent men, women, and children in an effort to advance 
their twisted, demented aims. We can, we will, and we must prevail in 
the war on terror. However, in the pursuit of those who seek to harm 
us, we must not sacrifice the very ideals that distinguish us from 
those who preach death and destruction and say that their ends justify 
whatever means they may use.
  During the current administration, we have seen the line blurred 
between legitimate, sanctioned interrogation tactics and torture. And 
there is no doubt, our international reputation has suffered and been 
stained as a result. The excesses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are well 
known, as well as the administration's belief that the Geneva 
Convention against torture is, and I quote, quaint. Let me repeat that 
for my colleagues. The administration's advice that it got from counsel 
was that the Geneva Conventions against torture is, quote, quaint, 
close quote. I would suggest to you it is as relevant today as it was 
when it was signed.
  These incidents and others sully our great Nation's good reputation 
and allow our enemies to foment fear and stoke hatred. Requiring all 
intelligence agencies to comply with the Army Field Manual on 
interrogation is an attempt by this Congress, passed by majorities in 
both Houses, to repair the damage that has already been done. 
Furthermore, the techniques permitted by the Army Field Manual have 
been endorsed by a wide array of civilian and military officials as 
both effective and consistent with our values.
  Here, in fact, is what General David Petraeus wrote to members of the 
Armed Forces in Iraq last May. I believe it has been quoted, but it 
bears repeating:
  ``Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned 
torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the 
enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are 
illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor 
  General Petraeus went on to say:
  ``Our experience in applying interrogation standards laid out in the 
Army Field Manual . . . shows that the techniques in the manual work 
effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees.''
  Mr. Speaker, this is not a question of whether we must combat and 
defeat terrorists. We must. However, we must never let it be said that 
when this generation of Americans was forced to confront evil that we 
succumbed to the tactics of the tyrant.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, vote to override 
this unjustified and deeply misguided veto.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. I yield myself 1 minute.
  The Detainee Treatment Act outlaws cruel, inhumane, and degrading 
treatment. There seems to be a sense of urgency to do what we have done 
and do it again. It is too bad that there is no sense of urgency to 
give our individuals in the intelligence community the tools that they 
need to keep us safe.
  The Senate has passed FISA. We should do the same thing. And we 
should do it before we go home. We need to start doing national 
security issues in a bipartisan basis. The longer we continue going 
down this path of making national security and intelligence issues 
purely partisan, some might call them purely political issues, we risk 
the security and the safety of the American people.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, could I inquire as to the time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas has 2 minutes 
remaining. The gentleman from Michigan has 2\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, with that, I will yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from California, the Speaker of the House of 
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee for his leadership on protecting the American 
people. In addition to being Chair of the Intelligence Committee, he 
has served for many years on the Armed Services Committee. He brings to 
his position on Intelligence the commitment that we all have, to 
protecting the American people, to building a strong military second to 
none to do that, to protect the American people. He knows that force 
protection is one of the main priorities of intelligence, to protect 
our forces, and when they are in harm's way, to make sure they have the 
intelligence to prevail.

[[Page H1511]]

  Mr. Speaker, the New Direction Congress has made strengthening 
national security and improving America's intelligence capabilities a 
top priority. It is our major responsibility, to protect the American 
  Our very first piece of legislation, H.R. 1, took the bipartisan 9/11 
Commission recommendations off the shelf, as they had been in the 
Republican Congress, and put them into law to better protect the 
American people. We then began our efforts to strengthen America's 
military, the readiness of which has been greatly depleted by the 
President's failed Iraq policy.
  To restore our military strength, we have expanded the size of the 
Army and Marine Corps, passed legislation insisting that only fully 
mission-capable forces be deployed, and funded essential equipment, 
including armored Humvees.
  Mr. Speaker, America's security depends on the strength of our 
military as we all know, but also the quality of information gathered 
and analysis provided by the 16 intelligence agencies that make up our 
Nation's intelligence community. As someone who has served on the House 
Intelligence Committee now as a member and ex officio for 16 years, 
longer than anyone in the Congress, I understand that policymakers in 
Congress and in the executive branch must be able to rely on accurate, 
timely, and actionable intelligence. That is why this intelligence 
authorization bill invests in human intelligence, counterterrorism 
operations, and analysis. It is a critical step in protecting our 
Nation. And the President should have signed it into law.

                              {time}  1830

  Regrettably, President Bush vetoed these critical investments in our 
intelligence capabilities because this legislation extended the Army 
Field Manual's prohibition on torture to intelligence community 
  The prohibition on torture that the President vetoed protected our 
values, protected American military and diplomatic personnel, and 
protected Americans by ensuring accurate intelligence. Our Nation is on 
a stronger ground ethically and morally when our practices for holding 
and interrogating captives are consistent with the Geneva Conventions, 
when we do not torture.
  We all have our views here about intelligence gathering, analysis and 
dissemination; and, again, much of the focus is on force protection. So 
I look to the words of those who have served in the military for their 
view on this subject.
  In the words of Retired RADM Donald Guter, a former Navy Judge 
Advocate General, he says: ``There is no disconnect between human 
rights and national security. They are synergistic. One doesn't work 
without the other for very long.''
  Failing to legally prohibit the use of waterboarding and other harsh 
torture techniques also risks the safety of our soldiers and other 
Americans serving overseas. In a letter to the congressional 
Intelligence Committee chairmen, 30 retired generals and admirals, 
including General Joseph Hoar, the former head of the U.S. Central 
Command, the command that oversees our military activities in the Iraq 
region, the Middle East and greater Middle East area, those 30 retired 
generals and admirals, looking again to the voices of those who have 
led in the military, stated: ``We believe it is vital to the safety of 
our men and women in uniform that the United States not sanction the 
use of interrogation methods it would find unacceptable if inflicted by 
the enemy against captured Americans.''
  Many military officials and intelligence professionals have also 
stated that torture is ineffective; it is unlikely to produce the kind 
of timely and reliable information needed to disrupt terrorist plots.
  I want to reinforce the message of my colleague, the majority leader, 
Steny Hoyer, in quoting the words of General David Petraeus. As Mr. 
Hoyer just stated, but I think it bears repeating, the words of General 
David Petraeus: ``Some may argue that we would be more effective if we 
sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information 
from the enemy. That would be wrong,'' General Petraeus said. He went 
on: ``Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history 
shows that they are frequently neither useful nor necessary.''
  These leading military men and women and those of us who support this 
legislation's ban on torture believe that we can and we must protect 
America while preserving our country's deeply held principles.
  In the final analysis, our ability to lead the world will depend not 
only on our military might but also on our moral authority. Today, we 
can begin to reassert that moral authority by overriding the 
President's veto.
  Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Issa).
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I am astounded that you can use the words 
``torture'' and ``waterboarding'' as though you were not on the 
committee of jurisdiction knowing about it as an ex-officio at the time 
it is to have occurred. I am shocked that this is going to be all about 
a procedure or procedures that in fact the Speaker of the House had the 
ability to know about and condoned for years. I am shocked that the 
Speaker of the House would speak about David Petraeus, when in fact 
David Petraeus has said publicly and privately: ``You know, on the 
battlefield of Iraq, I can kill the enemy, but I can't listen to him if 
he calls America.''
  This today should be about what we haven't done. We haven't taken up 
the Senate's FISA bill. We haven't dealt with the fact that we are in 
danger every day, and as a member of the intelligence community, I know 
just how damaging the absence of action has been.
  This bill has become a partisan bill, and wrongly so. I call on my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fix it and move on, rather 
than complaining about something that the Speaker is well aware of.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, could I inquire of the time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas has 1 minute and 
the gentleman from Michigan has 1\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. REYES. Thank you.
  I would advise the gentleman from Michigan I have one additional 
  With that, I now yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. 
  Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, there are five compelling reasons 
why we should override the President's veto of this bill and sustain 
the congressional ban on torture:
  First of all, it creates a double standard between the military and 
our intelligence personnel. The rest of the world won't recognize the 
difference, and neither should we.
  Secondly, it gives us faulty information. Somebody being tortured 
will tell you whatever is necessary in order to stop the torture.
  Thirdly, it jeopardizes our own personnel, because the enemy will 
consider it a license to torture American prisoners.
  Fourth, it is illegal, according to the Geneva Conventions.
  Fifth, it is immoral, and thus it is un-American.
  Our Founding Fathers believed that this Nation would be united by a 
common set of values, that we would stand as a moral guidepost to the 
rest of the world. This undermines that moral high ground, and that is 
why this veto should be overridden.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of the time.
  Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues today to sustain the 
President's veto. This is an ill-advised bill. This goes back to what 
we did in the 1990s, ``bugs and bunnies,'' telling our intelligence 
folks that it is time to focus your resources and your skills on 
studying the national security implications of global warming.
  There are many problems with this bill. But the sense of urgency that 
we have in the intelligence community today is, as my colleague from 
California pointed out today, we are going to tell al Qaeda exactly 
what may happen. We are going to give them our playbook. And at the 
same time we have limited our ability to listen to radical jihadists.
  It is now 26, 27, 28 days since FISA, or the Protect America Act, has 
expired. How many more days will my colleagues on the other side of the 

[[Page H1512]]

wait before they take up this legislation from the Senate? Will it be 
one more day? Will it be three more days? Will it be two more weeks? 
Will it be two more months? How much greater do you want to increase 
the risk to the homeland, to our allies, to our troops, before you act?
  The Speaker of the House shortly after 9/11 agreed that we needed to 
act. It is beyond me why she doesn't want to act now and why we don't 
have that sense of urgency. It is time to bring FISA to the floor, and 
it is time to sustain the President's veto.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a critical bill for the intelligence community. 
If you vote to sustain this veto, you are voting for torture with the 
President. I believe we should stand with the men and women of the 
community and override the President's veto.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to cast my vote to override 
the President's veto of the ban on torture. This bill would have 
prevented the CIA from engaging in acts of torture. The President 
vetoed this bill over the provision that specifically extends to U.S. 
intelligence agencies and personnel the current prohibitions in the 
Army Field Manual against waterboarding and other torture.
  The human rights violations perpetrated by the Bush Administration 
against people detained by the United States have done more to 
compromise this nation's security than to protect it. We can protect 
our nation from acts of terrorism without compromising our values or 
the Constitution.
  The use of torture by U.S. intelligence agencies to gain intelligence 
is repugnant on moral grounds. In addition, many experts agree that 
information extracted through torture is often unreliable and 
misleading. Moreover, as the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of 
staff, Colin Powell, has testified, torture will put our own troops at 
greater risk of torture.
  In 2007, General David Petraeus stated that torture is wrong and that 
the Army Field Manual works. In an open letter to service members in 
May 2007, General Petraeus stated, ``Some may argue that we would be 
more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to 
obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the 
basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also 
are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme 
physical action can make someone `talk;' however, what the individual 
says may be of questionable value. In fact, our experience in applying 
the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual . . . 
shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely 
in eliciting information from detainees.''
  At a February 29th news briefing to oppose the President's 
anticipated veto, retired Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster, former Director of 
the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated, ``Experience shows that the 
Army Field Manual's approaches to interrogation work. The Army Field 
Manual is comprehensive and sophisticated. It contains all the 
techniques any good interrogator needs to get accurate, reliable 
information, including out of the toughest customers. . . If 
[individuals] think these [harsh interrogation] methods work, they're 
woefully misinformed. Torture is counterproductive on all fronts. It 
produces bad intelligence. It ruins the [interrogation] subject, makes 
them useless for further interrogation. And it damages our credibility 
around the world.''
  Moreover, 30 retired military leaders have pointed out that failing 
to prohibit harsh interrogation techniques endangers our men and women 
in uniform. In a December 2007 letter, 30 retired military leaders 
wrote, ``We believe it is vital to the safety of our men and women in 
uniform that the United States not sanction the use of interrogation 
methods it would find unacceptable if inflicted by the enemy against 
captured Americans. . . . The current situation, in which the military 
operates under one set of interrogation rules that are public and the 
CIA operates under a separate, secret set of rules, is unwise and 
unpractical . . . What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight . . 
. is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards 
and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with 
dignity and respect.''
  Many retired military leaders have also pointed out that 
waterboarding is clearly torture and is illegal. For example, Retired 
Admiral Donald Guter, Judge Advocate General, wrote in a November 2007 
letter, ``Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal. 
. . This is a critically important issue--but it is not, and never has 
been, a complex issue, and even to suggest otherwise does a terrible 
disservice to this nation. . . . Waterboarding detainees amounts to 
illegal torture in all circumstances. to suggest otherwise--or even to 
give credence to such a suggestion--represents both an affront to the 
law and to the core values of our nation.''
  Finally, the use of torture has weakened our national security by 
eroding our moral standing and has cost us our ability to enlist the 
cooperation and support of other nations in our fight against 
terrorism, and places our military and diplomatic personnel at risk. 
This practice must be stopped. Overturning this veto would be a crucial 
first important step to restore our moral standing in the world. It is 
imperative that Congress tells the world in no uncertain terms: 
Americans do not engage in torture.
  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to overriding the 
President's veto of H.R. 2082, the conference agreement on the Fiscal 
Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act.
  As a former Member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, I 
believe it is vital that we provide the United States intelligence 
agencies with the tools and resources necessary to ensure our security. 
Therefore, I strongly support funding in this bill for human 
intelligence activities, intelligence analysis, and counterterrorism 
operations. Furthermore, I support language in the agreement 
prohibiting the use of interrogation techniques not authorized by the 
U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. Our 
soldiers and interrogators need to know exactly where the line is when 
engaging prisoners and there should be absolutely no question about 
what is acceptable behavior and what is not. In fact, I have 
cosponsored legislation to require the anti-torture provisions included 
in this conference agreement.
  Nevertheless, I will oppose this bill because it fails to implement 
the 9/11 Commission's recommendations for reforming congressional 
oversight of intelligence funding. In its final report, the 9/11 
Commission concluded that: ``Of all our recommendations, strengthening 
congressional oversight may be among the most difficult and important. 
So long as oversight is governed by the current congressional rules and 
resolutions, we believe the American people will not get the security 
they want and need.''
  Last year, the Democratic leadership attempted to apply a ``Band-
Aide'' to this problem by creating a powerless Intelligence Oversight 
Panel that has very little control over actual funding decisions. This 
is clearly not what the 9/11 Commission recommended. In fact, its 
report plainly states that ``tinkering with the existing committee 
structure is not sufficient.'' In May of 2007, I offered a simple 
amendment to the bill before us, calling for Congress to implement 
these crucial recommendations--but it was prevented from being 
considered for inclusion in this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, the American people have insisted that we implement all 
of the 9/11 Commission recommendations--even those that are difficult. 
We will be doing this country a disservice until we put in place an 
effective committee structure capable of giving our national 
intelligence agencies the oversight, support, and leadership they need.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in somewhat reluctant support of this 
vote to override the President's veto of H.R. 2062, the Intelligence 
Authorization Act of 2008. Although I voted against this authorization 
when it first came to the floor, the main issue has now become whether 
we as a Congress are to condone torture as official U.S. policy or 
whether we will speak out against it. This bill was vetoed by the 
President because of a measure added extending the prohibition of the 
use of any interrogation treatment or technique not authorized by the 
United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector 
Operations to the U.S. intelligence community. Opposing this 
prohibition is tantamount to endorsing the use of torture against those 
in United States Government custody.
  Mr. Speaker, we have all read the disturbing reports of individuals 
apprehended and taken to secret prisons maintained by the United States 
Government across the globe, tortured for months or even years, and 
later released without charge. Khaled al-Masri, for example, a German 
citizen, has recounted the story of his incarceration and torture by 
U.S. intelligence in a secret facility in Afghanistan. His horror was 
said to be simply a case of mistaken identity. We do not know how many 
more similar cases there may be, but clearly it is not in the interest 
of the United States to act in a manner so contrary to the values upon 
which we pride ourselves.
  My vote to override the President's veto is a vote to send a clear 
message that I do not think the United States should be in the business 
of torture. It is anti-American, immoral and counterproductive.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, the President's veto of this 
legislation was not a surprise but still very disappointing.
  It was not a surprise because the President had clearly signaled his 
intention to reject the bill's requirement that all intelligence 
agencies follow the rules governing interrogation techniques followed 
by our military, even though the bill also authorizes supplemental 
funding for counterterrorism as well as funding for advanced research 
and development funding to

[[Page H1513]]

help maintain our technical capacity for intelligence, to repair and 
replace aging and inadequate power infrastructure, and to improve 
training and education of linguists, analysts, and human intelligence 
  But it was disappointing that President Bush refuses to agree to that 
simple requirement, because the result is to signal to the world that 
he refuses to recognize that the result will be to place every 
American, especially those in uniform around the world, at grave risk.
  The United States historically has led in the effort to establish and 
enforce the laws of war and conventions against torture. Indeed, the 
Army Field Manual is an outstanding example of how our modern military 
effectively gathers intelligence and observes international norms of 
  The importance of that leadership and the appropriateness of the 
guidelines in the field manual were clearly recognized by Congress when 
we voted to approve the conference report's provision extending the 
field manual to the entire intelligence community--the provision to 
which the President objects and which has prompted him to veto the 
legislation. By extending the field manual to the intelligence 
community, the legislation would effectively outlaw waterboarding and 
similar coercive techniques. I support that because waterboarding is 
widely and rightly viewed as a form of torture and the refusal to 
renounce its use will result in greater damage to our national 
interests than the possible benefits of its possible use in the future.
  I think the case for overriding the President's veto was well made by 
the Colorado Springs Gazette in a recent editorial pointing out that 
``the use of torture blurs the line between civilized societies and 
ruthless barbarians.'' As the editorial notes,

       In the larger struggle with jihadist terrorism and those 
     tempted to support or harbor them, the perception that the 
     United States has a certain moral authority is invaluable. 
     Moral authority was a key factor in the long, twilight 
     struggle with aggressive communism we call the Cold War. 
     Using torture undermines that moral authority.
       It is telling that the firmest opponents of the use of 
     torture tend to be military and former military people who 
     understand the dangers to captured military personnel if it 
     is widely believed that the U.S. engages in torture. Instead 
     of spinning unlikely scenarios in which torture might be 
     justified, the government should announce that America 
     doesn't do that any more--and mean it.

  I agree, and that is why I will vote today to override the 
President's unwise veto of this important legislation. For the benefit 
of our colleagues, I am attaching the complete text of the editorial:

           [From the Colorado Springs Gazette, Feb. 14, 2008]

      The High Road--Forswearing Torture Gives U.S. Moral Standing

       So it's out in the open now. Central Intelligence Agency 
     Director Gen. Michael Hayden admitted to the Senate 
     Intelligence Committee last week that the CIA used the 
     coercive interrogation technique known as waterboarding, a 
     form of simulated drowning, on three al-Qaida operatives in 
     2002 and 2003. The technique is widely viewed as torture, 
     which is prohibited by U.S. law and international treaties. 
     Hayden said it has not been used since 2003 but that the CIA 
     could use it again if approved by both the attorney general 
     and the president.
       The Justice Department is currently investigating the 
     destruction of videotapes of the interrogations of two 
     detainees held in Thailand who were reportedly subjected to 
     waterboarding and other coercive interrogation techniques to 
     determine whether destroying the tapes amounted to 
     obstruction of justice.
       Public disclosure of these incidents should lead to a firm 
     U.S. policy preventing government operatives from using 
     torture in the future. Perhaps the best thing about the 
     emergence of Sen. John McCain as the Republican presidential 
     frontrunner is that McCain, who was tortured by the North 
     Vietnamese while a POW during the Vietnam War, has expressed 
     his firm opposition to the use of torture by the U.S. He has 
     said that one thing that helped him endure his imprisonment 
     was the knowledge that our side doesn't engage in such 
       Torture is sometimes justified as the only way to extract 
     information from detainees when an attack is deemed imminent, 
     and Hayden said in 2002 and 2003 that everybody expected an 
     attack on the U.S. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But 
     most experienced interrogators say torture seldom if ever 
     produces reliable intelligence, that while other techniques 
     may take longer, they generally produce better information.
       At a more fundamental level, the use of torture blurs the 
     line between civilized societies and ruthless barbarians. In 
     the larger struggle with jihadist terrorism and those tempted 
     to support or harbor them, the perception that the United 
     States has a certain moral authority is invaluable. Moral 
     authority was a key factor in the long, twilight struggle 
     with aggressive communism we call the Cold War. Using torture 
     undermines that moral authority.
       It is dismaying, therefore, that a day later White House 
     spokesman Tony Fratto was still saying that waterboarding 
     might be used justifiably in the future. It would have been 
     better to acknowledge that in the wake of 9/11 the U.S. used 
     coercive techniques, that one could understand the temptation 
     considering the circumstances and the lack of knowledge about 
     al-Qaida, but that we had renounced the practice.
       It is telling that the firmest opponents of the use of 
     torture tend to be military and former military people who 
     understand the dangers to captured military personnel if it 
     is widely believed that the U.S. engages in torture. Instead 
     of spinning unlikely scenarios in which torture might be 
     justified, the government should announce that America 
     doesn't do that any more--and mean it.

  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to move the previous question.
  The previous question was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is, Will the House, on 
reconsideration, pass the bill, the objections of the President to the 
contrary notwithstanding?
  Under the Constitution, the vote must be by the yeas and nays.
  Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, this 15-minute vote on the passage 
of the bill on reconsideration will be followed by 5-minute votes on 
suspending the rules and adopting House Resolution 948 and House 
Resolution 493.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 225, 
nays 188, not voting 17, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 117]


     Bartlett (MD)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (NY)
     Boyd (FL)
     Boyda (KS)
     Brady (PA)
     Braley (IA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (IL)
     Davis, Lincoln
     Frank (MA)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Hall (NY)
     Hastings (FL)
     Herseth Sandlin
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson (IL)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Klein (FL)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren, Zoe
     Mahoney (FL)
     Maloney (NY)
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum (MN)
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore (KS)
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (VA)
     Murphy (CT)
     Murphy, Patrick
     Neal (MA)
     Peterson (MN)
     Price (NC)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Scott (GA)
     Scott (VA)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Walz (MN)
     Wasserman Schultz
     Welch (VT)
     Wilson (OH)


     Barrett (SC)
     Barton (TX)
     Bishop (UT)
     Bono Mack
     Brady (TX)
     Broun (GA)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burton (IN)
     Camp (MI)
     Campbell (CA)
     Cole (OK)
     Davis, David
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     English (PA)

[[Page H1514]]

     Franks (AZ)
     Garrett (NJ)
     Hall (TX)
     Hastings (WA)
     Inglis (SC)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones (NC)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kline (MN)
     Kuhl (NY)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     McCarthy (CA)
     McCaul (TX)
     McMorris Rodgers
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Murphy, Tim
     Peterson (PA)
     Price (GA)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ryan (WI)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (TX)
     Walden (OR)
     Walsh (NY)
     Weldon (FL)
     Whitfield (KY)
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman (VA)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--17

     Davis (KY)
     Pryce (OH)
     Thompson (MS)

                              {time}  1901

  Mr. FEENEY changed his vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  So (two-thirds not being in the affirmative) the veto of the 
President was sustained and the bill was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated for:
  Ms. SCHWARTZ. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 117, I was unavoidably 
detained. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea.''
  Stated against:
  Mr. COBLE. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 117, I was detained at a 
firefighters ceremony. Had I been present, I would have voted ``nay.''

                          Personal Explanation

  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, during rollcall vote No. 117 on H.R. 2082, I 
mistakenly recorded my vote as ``no'' when I should have voted ``yes.''
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The veto message and the bill will be 
referred to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  The Clerk will notify the Senate of the action of the House.