Top Dems to Mattis, Pompeo: Oppose return to torture

Victoria Sarno Jordan

Senate Democrats are urging two top Trump administration officials to oppose reopening CIA black sites and reverting back to “torture.” 

Five top Democrats sent a letter on Friday to Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo noting they are “deeply concerned” about reports of a forthcoming executive order. 
“Those reports, as well as comments by the President, have created alarm that this administration may be preparing a return to policies and practices that are ineffective, contrary to our national values, and damaging to our national security,” the senators wrote in the letter. 
{mosads}Multiple reports surfaced late last month about a draft executive order that would revoke a series of Obama administration rules that closed CIA “black sites,” granted Red Cross access to all detainees and limited interrogators to techniques approved in the Army Field Manual. 
The Democrats blasted the potential moves on Friday, saying they would be a “boon to terrorist groups, helping their propaganda and recruitment efforts.”
“Moreover, these practices frayed our relations with key allies, some of whom have faced legal liability before their own or international courts,” they added. “Similarly, these practices put our own forces and personnel at risk of legal liability.” 
White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted at the the time that the document wasn’t from the White House, adding, “I have no idea where it came from.”
Trump also said during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May that while he supported torture, he would defer to Mattis, who he said would be able to “override” him. 
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — the top Democrats on the Intelligence, Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Appropriations committees, respectively — signed Friday’s letter. 
Tags Ben Cardin Dianne Feinstein Jack Reed Mark Warner Patrick Leahy

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