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Nadler, Delahunt To Introduce 'American Anti-Torture Bill'

Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and William Delahunt (Mass.) will soon introduce legislation - the "American Anti-Torture Act of 2007" -  to ban torture of detainees by any U.S. government agency, including the CIA or other intelligence units.

The two veteran Democrats want to build upon an amendment added by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the 2006 supplemental Defense bill banning the use of any interrogation technique not included in the Army Field Manual.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by Nadler and Delahunt, the two lawmakers say they want to "ensure a uniform, minimum standard for interrogations of detainees by the U.S. government. The American Anti-Torture Act ensures that individuals in U.S. custody are not tortured, a core standard already embodied in the Army Field Manual. In doing so, it reasserts basic American values as a basis for government action."

The Army Field Manual specifically bans the use of force or inhumane treatment against any detainee.

"Torture is abhorrent to American moral values and inconsistent with our deep adherence and respect for the rule of law," Nadler and Delahunt wrote.

"We should not make ourselves vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy, nor expose our troops to potential mistreatment by adhering to anything less than the standards of a civilized nation. By once and for all outlawing torture, we will be demonstrating our commitment to that standard."

Law enforcement agencies handling immigration and criminal cases would be exempted from the bill, since those agencies already have by numerous statutes covering their interrogation practices.