"In fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee ... was obtained through standard, non-coercive means, not through any ‘enhanced interrogation technique,'" said McCain, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Former Bush administration officials in the last week have argued its interrogation methods helped lead U.S. forces to bin Laden. McCain, who has criticized those techniques in the past, disputed the notion and said the use of such methods ends up hurting the United States.

“I believe some of these practices — especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution, and thus to me, indisputably torture — are and should be prohibited in a nation that is exceptional in its defense and advocacy of human rights,” said McCain, who was once tortured himself during imprisonment in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" in North Vietnam.  

“It is difficult to overstate the damage that any practice of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by Americans does to our national character and historical reputation — to our standing as an exceptional nation among the countries of the world," he said.

At the conclusion of McCain’s speech Sen. Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRepublican failure Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE (D-Nev.) commented that the oration would be “forever remembered in our country and this body.”