Videotaped Military Interrogations May Be on the Way
The conference report to next fiscal year’s defense appropriations bill includes a provision long — and I mean long — sought by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.): a requirement for military interrogators to videotape their interrogation sessions. (The CIA, which is no longer in the lead on high-value interrogations, has admitted to destroying nearly 100 videotapes of presumably brutal interrogation sessions, but this bill is about the military.) Holt has argued that keeping videotape records is more than just a crime-prevention measure, it’s a move to build interrogation capacity, as a video library will allow interrogators to more clinically analyze what worked and what didn’t.
From a release:
“Law enforcement organizations across the nation understand that we collect the best intelligence and protect both the interrogator and the person being interrogated by requiring recordings,” Holt said. “This bill continues the process of putting our detainee policies back on a sound legal footing while maintaining our ability to get actionable intelligence,” Holt said.
In addition to requiring videorecording of detainee interrogations, Holt’s provision would require the Secretary of Defense to develop guidelines for ensuring that the required videorecording is expansive enough to prevent abuses of detainees’ fundamental human rights under U.S. and international law. To ensure the safety of U.S. troops, the provision would not require troops in combat to record interrogations.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure soon.