Yesterday I was at home when the pleasant-voiced Drew Robinson from Sen. David Perdue’s office called, and so I was able to chat with him directly about Perdue’s stance on waterboarding.
Drew wanted me to know that last summer Sen. John McCain (along with Dianne Feinstein, D-CA) submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which expanded previous bans on torture. Whereas before the Department of Defense was forbidden to torture prisoners (under the Geneva Conventions as well as by U.S. law), that left a lot of wiggle room for other federal agencies. (Looking at you, CIA.) The McCain-Feinstein Amendment extended the ban to the entire federal government. Read more about it here.
Sen. Perdue was one of 78 senators who voted to pass the amendment. Although the bill passed both chambers, it was vetoed by President Obama for its budget shenanigans, i.e., moving routine defense spending which was above the limit set by the budget into the “let’s just charge this war on our credit card” funding stream. (Other details available at the link.)
So while the bill (and the McCain-Feinstein Amendment) didn’t pass, I’m going to give Sen. Perdue the benefit of the doubt on this one and record that he is, unlike the PPE, opposed to waterboarding.
Since this was my first time speaking with an actual congressional aide, I was polite and complimentary, but I also neglected to ask whether Sen. Perdue’s opposition would continue into the next administration. I’m still developing my craft here.
For those who are keeping track, that’s three responses from Sen. Perdue, and zero from Sen. Isakson.