The Future of Interrogation: National Security in 21st Century Conflict
The Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program (SSCI Report) has sparked discussion about Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) and reignited the debate about the ethics and legality of their use.
The Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) in collaboration with Perry World House, both of the University of Pennsylvania, will host a public panel assessing the SSCI Report’s findings with regard to the ethics and legality of EIT. The
panel will take into consideration the moral and legal rights of detainees, the role of international law in general, and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) particularly in constraining interrogation practices.
Additionally, the role of professionals–lawyers, doctors, journalists, and others who are bound by strict ethical codes of conduct–presents a particularly complex question. In rationalizing and implementing EIT, professional ethical codes can
come into conflict with national security imperatives. Do professionals have a duty to oppose national security operations that violate the ethical standards of their professions? Should they have a further duty to disclose such violations to the
public? How should violation of such duties be handled?
Finally, the SSCI Report itself has been highly controversial. Some see the report as a long overdue exposure of a doleful chapter in our nation’s recent history. Others see the report as an exercise in partisan politics, suggesting inaccurate
statements about the efficacy of EITs as well as holding the intelligence community to unrealistic standards of accountability. The panel will explore these and related complex relationships in a non-partisan manner by bringing together a
distinguished group of panelists from different professions.