What is The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment?
The Task Force on Detainee Treatment is an independent, bipartisan, blue‐ribbon commission examining the federal government’s policies and actions related to the capture, detention, treatment and prosecution of suspected terrorists in U.S. custody during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Created late in 2010, the goal of the Task Force is to provide the American people with a broad understanding of what is known—and what may still be unknown—about the past and current treatment of suspected terrorists detained by the U.S. government. The Task Force seeks to identify and promote detention policies and practices that comply with the nation’s legal obligations, foreign policy objectives and values.
When will the Task Force’s report be released?
The Task Force released a comprehensive report of its findings on April 16th, 2013.
What is in the Task Force’s report?
The Task Force’s work included: a thorough review of the laws that govern detainee treatment; a comprehensive description of the details regarding U.S. treatment of detainees at multiple facilities over the last twenty years; identification of critical issues for which information has not yet been made available; an assessment and discussion of the underlying policy decisions that may have resulted in any mistreatment of detainees, and an analysis of the consequences of those policies; and, any subsequent recommendations.
Who is on the Task Force on Detainee Treatment?
The members of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment are:
Asa Hutchinson – Task Force Co-Chair; Senior Partner, Asa Hutchinson Law Group; Undersecretary, Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration, 2003-2005; Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, 2001-2003; Member of Congress, (R-AR), 1997-2001; U.S. Attorney, Western District of Arkansas, 1982-1985
Ambassador James R. Jones – Task Force Co-Chair; Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Member of Congress (D-OK), 1973-1987; Ambassador to Mexico, 1993-1997
Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte – Past President of the American Bar Association and Co-Founder of the ABA’s Central European and Eurasian Law Institute; President Emeritus of The Florida State University
Richard A. Epstein – Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School; Peter and Kristen Bedford Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution; Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School
David P. Gushee – University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University
Azizah al-Hibri – Professor Emerita, The T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond; Chair, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Brigadier General David Irvine, USA (Ret.) – In the private practice of law in Salt Lake City, Utah; Retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer; taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School; served 4 terms as a Republican legislator in the Utah House of Representatives
Lt. General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.) – First woman to achieve the rank of three star general in the U.S. Army; three decades of military service included service as Army Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering – Vice Chair, Hills & Company; five-decade career as U.S. diplomat included service as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs; served as ambassador to the United Nations, the Soviet Union, and Israel
Judge William S. Sessions – Partner, Holland & Knight; Director of the FBI, 1987-1993; Chief Judge, 1980-1987, and Judge, 1974-1987, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas; U.S. Attorney, Western District of Texas, 1971-1974
Gerald E. Thomson, MD – Lambert and Sonneborn Professor of Medicine Emeritus at Columbia University; Chair, Board of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession; Board Member, Physicians for Human Rights, 2005-10; President, American College of Physicians, 1995-96
Judge Patricia M. Wald – Member, President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2004-2005; Judge, 1979-1999, and Chief Judge, 1986-1991, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit; Judge, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, 1999-2001. Resigned due to an appointment to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Eleanor J. Hill ‐ Task Force Chairperson; Partner, King & Spalding; Staff Director, Joint Congressional Inquiry on the September 11th attacks; Inspector General, Department of Defense, 1995‐1999. Resigned due to professional obligations.
In addition to the Task Force members, the following former government officials have agreed to serve as endorsers and advisors to the work of the Task Force:
Alberto J. Mora – Mr. Mora served as General Counsel to the U.S. Navy during the administration of President George W. Bush from 2001-2006. In that position he was involved in opposing the use of coercive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. He also served with the State Department and as General Counsel to the U.S. Information Agency. He has practiced law with private firms and corporations.
William H. Taft, Jr. – Mr. Taft’s career includes public service and private law practice. He was General Counsel to the Department of Defense under President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Secretary of Defense. Mr. Taft served as U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO from 1989-92. From 2001-2005, Mr. Taft served as Legal Advisor at the State Department. During and after his service with the State Department, Mr. Taft supported compliance with the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of detainees.
Brigadier General Stephen Xenakis (Ret.) – Dr. Xenakis served for 28 years in the United States Army as a medical corps officer. He held a wide of variety of assignments as a clinical psychiatrist, staff officer, and senior commander, including Commanding General of the Southeast Army Regional Medical Command. Dr. Xenakis has written widely on medical ethics, military medicine, and the treatment of detainees. He has visited Guantanamo Bay to review detainee conditions there.
Wayne A. Budd – Mr. Budd is Senior Counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP. He served as Associate Attorney General of the United States in 1992 and United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1989-1992.
Lee H. Hamilton – Mr. Hamilton was Vice‐Chair of the 9/11 Commission from 2002‐2004. He is Director and Founder of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. Mr. Hamilton is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and was President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1999‐2010. He served as a Democratic member of Congress from 1965‐1999.
Is the Task Force part of the U.S. Government?
No. While many members of the Task Force have held government posts at various points in their careers, the Task Force itself is unaffiliated with the U.S. Government. No member of the Task Force is currently employed by the U.S. Government.
Is the Task Force affiliated with a particular political party or other partisan organization?
No. Like The Constitution Project the Task Force is independent, objective, and bipartisan. It is composed of both Democrats and Republicans and its members span the political spectrum.