Committee Reports

Recommendations to the Trump Administration Regarding National Security Policies


The Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law (Mark R. Shulman, Chair) wrote to the Trump Administration expressing its concerns about reports of policies being considered with regard to the national security policies of the United States, in particular as they relate to the detention and interrogation of individuals thought to be involved in Islamist terrorism.  The Task Force writes, “The principal lesson we have derived from our work is that full and faithful respect for the rule of law strengthens our country. Our system of justice – based on time-tested constitutional and international norms – is a source of strength, not vulnerability.” The Task Force urges President Trump to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay; continue to observe the strong presumption in favor of civilian-court prosecutions; and reject any proposal to reopen the so-called “CIA Black Sites” or otherwise hide detainees.  With respect to the interrogation of detainees, the Task Force writes, “During the course of your campaign and more recently, you suggested that you would consider supporting, as effective tools, the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, and worse. We emphatically warn against the use of such practices on the grounds that they are unethical, immoral, and above all unlawful. These practices amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading (CID) treatment and are prohibited by both domestic and international law.”  The Committee concludes, “Your decisions over the following months will have profound and long-term effects on U.S. national security and on our liberties at home. Moreover, our service members in the field rely for their safety on the restraints on interrogation and detention imposed by this rule of law system; unwinding it would put them at grave risk. A strong rule of law system has always played an essential role as bulwark against threats foreign and domestic. When we strengthen it and adhere to its principles, we prosper as a people.”