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The purpose of the independent, nonpartisan Task Force is to bring to the American people a comprehensive understanding of what is known and what may still be unknown about the past and current treatment of detainees by the U.S. government as part of the counterterrorism policies of both Democratic and Republican administrations. The Task Force’s work will help policymakers and the public confront any past abuses, including torture and cruel treatment, honestly and effectively, and will provide a roadmap for any necessary next steps. The Task Force will provide recommendations to the Administration and Congress to ensure that the country’s national security policies are consistent with the rule of law. In particular, the Task Force will assess whether and what kind of an official government inquiry might be required.


Task Force members will be known for their integrity and impartiality and will have relevant knowledge and expertise as members of the military, national security, legal, public service, law enforcement, foreign policy, religious, and medical communities. The Task Force will be supported by a staff director and additional staff members.

Activities and Reports

The Task Force will have broad scope to determine its own agenda and to conduct whatever activities it believes are most effective in advancing its mission. The Task Force and its staff will operate with the utmost transparency and integrity, and will engage in the following activities:

1. Review all available documents pertaining to detainee treatment, specifically related to allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and rendition;

2. Convene meetings and hearings as appropriate to obtain additional information in either public or private venues from experts, former and current government officials, detainees, and other knowledgeable persons;

3. Without compromising its independence, coordinate with any other individual or organization or as the Task Force determines would be useful to its mission;

4. Produce a final report and such interim reports as the Task Force deems necessary. The final report, drawing on the documentary review, as well as other sources of information including personal interviews, meetings, and hearings, should provide:

a. A narrative description of the facts regarding U.S. treatment of detainees;

b. A description of critical gaps in the documentary record that the Task Force was unable to fill;

c. An assessment and discussion of policy decisions and other causal factors that led to alleged torture or other mistreatment of detainees and an analysis of the consequences of those policies;

d. Findings and recommendations to promote further accountability and transparency, ensure compliance with the nation’s domestic and international legal obligations and foreign policy objectives, and prevent any abuses from recurring;

e. A section for additional concurring or dissenting views that may arise as a result of the Task Force investigation.

5. Publicize its work and its findings through outreach to the media, policymakers and the public.

6. Make its final report available to the President of the United States, the Congress, other government officials, and the general public, as deemed appropriate by the Task Force.


1. Upon creation, the Task Force shall operate as part of the Constitution Project, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.? The Task Force shall function in a manner that is consistent with the work of the other committees hosted by The Constitution Project.? The Task Force will be guided by its mandate and will be directed and led by its chairs, and its conclusions and recommendations will be those of the Task Force members.? Those conclusions and recommendations will be determined exclusively by the Task Force, and not by the staff or Board of The Constitution Project.

2. The Task Force shall have a professional staff, which will conduct research, provide written materials, coordinate meetings, and effectively support the Task Force.

3. Task Force members will be unpaid but may receive reimbursement for travel and other expenses. The staff will be compensated consistent with experience.

4. Funding for the Task Force’s work will be secured from foundations and other interested individuals and entities and it will be substantially available prior to the commencement of the work of the Task Force.

5. The Task Force’s work shall take one year from the time it enters into operation, with a possible six-month extension if needed.

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