Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today criticized Democrats’ proposal to the Intelligence Authorization Act. The manager’s amendment imposes criminal penalties of up to 20 years on interrogators for the use of techniques including isolation, sleep deprivation, or even the mere presence of military working dogs during an interrogation.

Ranking Member Smith: “Democrats’ proposal gives terrorists greater protections under the law than a common criminal in the U.S.  If an FBI agent in the U.S. interrogates a suspect for several hours, leaving them in prolonged isolation at times, they’re just doing their job.  But under this bill, if CIA officers do the same to Osama bin Laden, they could go to prison. It’s outrageous and will bring our human intelligence-gathering to a grinding halt.

“It’s hard to believe that in the wake of an attempted attack on Christmas Day and recent warnings from national security experts of a coming attack, that Democrats in Congress would tie the hands of interrogators. Rather than thanking them, Democrats are criminalizing the very work that saves lives.

“Whose side are Democrats on?  Making a terrorist uncomfortable for a few hours in order to save the lives of your family should not be a crime.  Before you know it, Democrats will be pushing to house terrorists at the Waldorf and tucking them into bed with a chocolate on their pillow.  This proposal is an outrage and an insult to the brave men and women of the intelligence community.”