Is it ‘enhanced interrogation’ or torture topic of ethics forum on public leadership

Is it ‘enhanced interrogation’ or torture topic of ethics forum on public leadership

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The recent release of a congressional report on the torture of detainees in U.S. custody raised concerns here and abroad, but little attention was paid to the ethics of public leaders and government officials who developed, designed and implemented the policy.

Ethical Leadership flier: Click on the image to view a larger version.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

The report will be the topic of two public leadership forums at Cal State San Bernardino.

“Enhanced Interrogation of Torture? The Ethical Responsibilities of Public Servants” will be held on Friday, Nov. 6, at Jack Brown Hall room 102 on the CSUSB campus, and again on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the university’s Palm Desert Campus’ Indian Wells Theater.

Both forums are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. The forum in San Bernardino will be from 7-9:30 p.m. The forum at the Palm Desert Campus will be from 2-4:30 p.m. For information and to reserve seating, contact the CSUSB Department of Public Administration at (909) 537-5758. Parking at both campuses is $6 and will be enforced.

“The forums’ theme is based on the federal government’s decision-making process, the nature and level of support for the policy and practice of Harsh Interrogation Techniques, and the professional responsibility of stakeholders, witnesses, and participants to these events,” said Jonathan Anderson, a professor and chair of public administration department in the CSUSB College of Business and Public Administration.

Although the report from U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) focused on events that occurred more than a decade ago, the issues are being addressed once again in the current presidential campaign, we are likely to see this topic continue to be in the headlines, Anderson said.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is posted online at “Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program.”

The forum panelists include:

  • Alberto Mora, senior fellow at Harvard University and former general counsel for the U.S. Navy. Mora led an effort within the U.S. Department of Defense to oppose the legal theories of the Bush Administration and end coercive interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which he argued were unlawful. For his efforts in this matter, Mora was awarded the prestigious Profiles in Courage Award from the JFK Library Foundation at Harvard.
  • Dave Brant, managing director, Public Sector Practice, BDO Consulting, Bethesda, Maryland. Brant served as director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service between 1998 and 2006. In 2002, Brant began receiving reports of “questionable” interrogation techniques being performed on detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. He personally investigated and reported his findings to Mora, then general counsel of the Navy, and he subsequently advised senior Navy officials that NCIS would not engage in abusive treatment even if so ordered. Brant informed his superiors that he did not wish to be even indirectly associated with a facility that engaged in such practices – advising them that he would immediately remove all NCIS personnel if the practice continued, personal consequences notwithstanding.
  • Mark Fallon, executive director, Club Fed, and former training officer, NCIS and deputy assistant director for training, Department of Homeland Security. Fallon served for more than 30 years in the federal law enforcement and counterintelligence community. He was also deputy commander and chief investigator of the U.S. Department of Defense Taskforce created by President Bush to investigate the Al-Qaeda terrorist network for trials before military commissions. Fallon first identified the “questionable” interrogation techniques that were being performed on detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and reported them to NCIS Director Dave Brant.

The forums will be moderated by John McKay, visiting professor of law, Seattle University Law School and former U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington. McKay was one of eight U.S. Attorneys fired by the Bush administration in 2006 for taking strong ethical positions on serious matters of public policy.

Serving as facilitators to audience questions will be:

  • Jonathan Anderson, chair of the CSUSB Department of Public Administration. He is on the National Executive Board of NASPAA and recently published “An Open Letter to “Dirty Hands” Theorists from a Public Manager (or, The Pitfalls of Divorcing Theory from Practice) in the academic journal Public Integrity; and
  • Thomas McWeeney who spent more than 20 years in senior management at the U.S. Department of Justice. He is founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C.,-based Public Leadership Institute and full-time lecturer in the Department of Public Administration at CSUSB.

For more information on the forum or to reserve seating, contact the department of public administration at (909) 537-5758.

CSUSB 50th Anniversary logoSet in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, Cal State San Bernardino serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually.

For more information, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit the university’s news site at news.csusb.edu.

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