January 22, 2009 – New York – AJC welcomes President Obama’s decisive, yet measured, actions in assuring that American national security policy is consonant with the rule of law. In signing executive orders on his second full day in office banning the use of torture and requiring the CIA to comply with the Army Field Manual on interrogation, as well as setting a new course on detention, the President has signaled to the world America’s abiding commitment to civil liberties and due process while remaining mindful of the ongoing threats posed by those who wish us harm.
“The Jewish community understands, perhaps better than many, the real challenges that face free societies in combating terror,” said AJC Legislative Director Richard Foltin. “We believe the President has taken important steps in the right direction by signaling that we can face those challenges and yet remain true to our fundamental values.”
AJC has long supported tough anti-terror measures that are consistent with respect for human rights and civil liberties. AJC is unequivocally opposed to the use of torture by interrogators representing our nation, and has supported legislative efforts to impose that principle.
“We are proud President Obama has announced to Americans and the world that we have not forgotten the values that make this country great,” Foltin said.
AJC has joined in amicus briefs in all the major Supreme Court cases to date concerning the rights of detainees, asserting that striking the appropriate balance between national security and civil liberties requires allowing them access to counsel and the courts.