Like thieves in the night, Democrats try to sneak in a bill to punish the CIA (UPDATE ADDED)

The House is about to debate the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 2701), and, with all eyes are on the health care summit, Democrats have slipped into the bill a new provision that would establish criminal punishments for CIA agents and other intelligence officials who engage in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” during interrogations.

The Democratic addition is called the “Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogations Prohibition Act of 2010,” and it was inserted into the larger intelligence bill without being considered by the House Intelligence Committee. It covers “any officer or employee of the intelligence community” who, during an interrogation, engages in beatings, the infliction pain, forced sexual acts, inducing hypothermia, conducting mock executions or “depriving the [detainee] of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care.” The bill gives Congress flexibility in defining just what those terms mean, and it would provide for punishments of up to 20 years in prison and life behind bars if a detainee dies as a result of the interrogation.

“This was done without committee review and without any feedback or input from the CIA,” says the House source. “It just showed up in the middle of the night. It specifically targets those who are keeping us safe. It doesn’t respond to what happened at Ft. Hood or Detroit. Instead, it targets the CIA for new criminal punishments.”

LIZ CHENEY saysLate last night, Democrats in the House of Representatives inserted a provision dubbed “The Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010” into the intelligence authorization bill. This new language targets the US intelligence community with criminal penalties for using methods they have deemed necessary for keeping America safe. These methods have further been found by the Department of Justice to be both legal and in keeping with our international obligations. “American intelligence officers do not deserve this kind of treatment from the government they honorably serve. Day in and day out, they protect our country and make difficult decisions–at times in matters of life and death. In return for their service the government rewards them with little pay and no acknowledgement of their heroic actions. Democrats in Congress now want to threaten them with criminal prosecutions and deprive them of valuable tactics that protect America.

Republicans say they will try to strip the measure out of the larger intelligence bill. But first they’re trying to make sure people know what is going on.WASHINGTON EXAMINER

GOOD NEWS UPDATE: GOP wins fight to remove CIA punishment provision.

The House Democratic leadership stopped a vote Thursday night on the $50 billion classified intelligence budget after Republicans mounted a campaign against one of its provisions to ban degrading treatment of detainees and some moderate Democrats indicated they would not vote for the bill.

The Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, opposed what they saw as backdoor legislation that would impose fines and prison terms on intelligence officers who abuse captured terrorism suspects. The amendment would authorize federal sentences of up to life in prison for cruel interrogation if it led to a detainee’s death or other penalties for lesser offenses. READ MORE WASHINGTON TIMES