In advance of the debate, the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International reminded the the candidates that waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" are torture, and that torture is illegal.
Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA policy director for terrorism, counterterrorism, and human rights, issued the following statement:
"As the candidates prepare [for] Tuesday evening's debate, Amnesty International would like to remind them that torture is prohibited in all its forms under both United States and international law.Will the candidates take these words seriously? I'm not optimistic. And that is perhaps what's most disturbing.
"At the previous national security debate in early November, some candidates spoke out in favor of reintroducing the unlawful interrogation techniques that led to the horrors of Abu Ghraib among other things. It has been widely established by military experts that these techniques are counterproductive at best.
"As a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture, the United States has an obligation to reject such methods and hold those who use them accountable before the law. Any candidate that embraces unlawful interrogation tactics not only does a terrible disservice to torture victims everywhere, but to a country already terribly wounded by its past behavior."