Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment [Updated October 2, 2006]   [open pdf - 88KB]

"Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with U.S. statutes and treaties such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Congress approved additional guidelines concerning the treatment of detainees via the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which was enacted pursuant to both the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006 (P.L. 109-148), and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-163). Among other things, the DTA contains provisions that (1) require Department of Defense (DOD) personnel to employ United States Army Field Manual guidelines while interrogating detainees, and (2) prohibit the 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government.' These provisions have popularly been referred to as the 'McCain Amendment.' This report discusses the McCain Amendment. This report also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual, in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In addition, the report discusses S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S. 3930; P.L. 109-XX [public law number not yet assigned]), which was approved by Congress in September 2006. The Act includes provisions that reference or amend the McCain Amendment."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33655
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