Transcript of Conference Call With Senior Administration Officials on the Executive Order Interpreting Common Article Three

WASHINGTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the U.S. Department of Justice: WASHINGTON, DC 2:55 P.M. EDT MR. ROEHRKASSE: Thank you very much. Thank you for joining us...


Number two, this is an executive order that specifically addresses the program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. It is not intended to supersede the procedures or standards that apply to the military under the Department of Defense's Army Field Manual, something that was also required by the Detainee Treatment Act. The military must operate in all respects according to the Army Field Manual and of course that is a standard and a set of safeguards and procedures which -- far above the baseline standard set by Common Article Three.

We like to refer to the Army Field Manual as the gold standard in terms of how prisoners and detainees will be treated, and that's what the military operates under. This particular executive order is addressing the CIA program. The core of the executive order is Section Three. That's the section that sets for the substantive and procedural requirements that must be met before a program of detention and interrogation run by the CIA will be determined by the President to be compliant with Common Article Three.

It makes it clear that the standards and requirements of the section must be applied with respect to detainees in the program without adverse distinction as to their race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth. That's a requirement of Common Article Three for humane treatment. Also it sets forth a list of prohibitions. These are acts or conduct that are absolutely prohibited for the CIA program, and they are clearly set forth in Section 3B1. And they include torture as defined under federal law. They include each of the war crimes offenses under the War Crimes Act that were defined by Congress in the Military Commissions Act to be those serious or grave breaches of Common Article Three.

They include other acts of violence serious enough to be considered comparable to those very serious offenses listed in Common Article Three. They include any violation of the Detainee Treatment Act standard, the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment prohibition. They also include a general provision on willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse, which is a provision intended to fill out and emphasize the serious nature of the meaning of provisions in Common Article Three including the outrages upon personal dignity provision of Common Article Three. They also include a prohibition on acts intended to denigrate the religion, religious practices or religious objects of the individual.

Furthermore, Section B2 of Section Three makes it clear that the conditions of confinement and the interrogation practices are limited to use with alien detainees who are determined by the director of the CIA to be fighting on behalf of al Qaeda and likely to be in possession of the most vital intelligence needed for national security, including intelligence about potential attacks from the United States and intelligence about the location or possible location of the senior leadership of al Qaeda, the Taliban, et cetera.

And then it also determines -- it also requires that all the interrogation practices for use in the program must be determined by the director of the CIA based on professional advice to be safe for use with each detainee with whom they are used. And again, that is specific to each detainee with whom they are used.

Furthermore, it requires that all detainees in the program receive the basic necessities of life, including adequate food and water, shelter from the elements, necessary clothing, protection from extremes of heat and cold and essential medical care. These are the basic components of humane treatment as referenced in various provisions of the Geneva Convention.

Then subsection 3C sets forth the administrative and procedural requirements that apply to the program, makes it clear that the director of the CIA must issue written policies to govern the program, including guidelines for personnel operating in the program. And these are guidelines and policies that ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements and more over require safe and professional operation of the program, the development of an approved plan of interrogation that is tailored to each detainee in the program, appropriate training for interrogators and all personnel operating the program, and effective monitoring for oversight of the program including with respect to medical matters to ensure the safety of those in the program and then to ensure compliance with all applicable law and this executive order.