Campaign Promises

Departments -> Justice -> Torture/Rendition

JU-31 The Promise: "...will eliminate the practice of extreme rendition, where we outsource our torture to other countries."
When/Where: Obama's Plan: The War We Need to Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:Executive Order 13491 signed by President Obama on 01/22/09 directed the creation of a special task force to study this issue. Led by the Attorney General, the newly-formed Interrogation and Transfer Policy Task Force conducted a review of the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines and looked at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries. The purpose of this review was to ensure that U.S. policies and practices complied with all obligations and were sufficient to ensure that individuals did not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred.

The task force's recommendations were provided to the White House on 08/24/09 and found that Army Field Manual 2-22.3 provided appropriate guidance on interrogation for military interrogators and that no additional or different guidance was necessary for other agencies.

The task force also recommended that the interrogation of the most dangerous terrorists could be improved by forming a High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) composed of experienced interrogators from across the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense and law enforcement.

Under the new guidelines, the Department of State was directed to seek "assurances from the receiving country" that a transferred suspect would not be tortured. Further, the Inspector Generals of the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security were directed to submit annual reports on transfers they initiate. Finally, the report recommended that a monitoring mechanism be established to ensure that transferred individuals would not be tortured.

The task force's recommendations did not lead to the full cessation of extreme renditions. The only significant change is that the U.S. Government now relies on foreign governments to (1) grant access to transferred prisoners, and (2) assure the U.S. Government that such prisoners are not being tortured.

During the Obama Administration, there was no effective mechanism put in place to ensure that a receiving country is not employing torture as a means to obtain actionable intelligence information.

This promise was not fulfilled.
JU-32 The Promise: "Obama will end the use of torture without exception."
When/Where: Obama's Plan: "The War We Need To Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:On 01/22/09, President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13491 entitled "Ensuring Lawful Interrogations."

EO 13491 states in part: "Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2-22.3" which is entitled "Human Intelligence Collector Operations."

EO 13491 also established a Special Task Force to review interrogation and transfer policies.

This promise was fulfilled.