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May 13, 2011

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey on McCain's claim of no results from harsh interrogation: 'Simply incorrect on all three counts'

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Via Joseph Lawler, former attorney general Michael Mukasey has responded to the ridiculous assertions John McCain has made over the past few days regarding the effectiveness and legality of torture. McCain had claimed that Mukasey had wrongly stated that waterboarding and other such interrogation methods had led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, implying that Mukasey was dishonest or misled. Mukasey has now fired right back - setting the record straight, with details ande making it clear that the harsh interrogation techniques were both effective and lawful:

Senator McCain described as "false" my statement that Khalid Sheik Mohammed broke under harsh interrogation that included waterboarding, and disclosed a torrent of information that included the nickname of Osama bin Laden's courier. He strongly implied in the remainder of his column in the Washington Post that this harsh interrogation was not only useless but also illegal. He is simply incorrect on all three counts.

KSM disclosed the nickname - al Kuwaiti - along with a wealth of other information, some of which was used to stop terror plots then in progress. He did so after refusing to answer questions and, when asked if further plots were afoot, said that his interrogators would eventually find out. Another detainee, captured in Iraq, disclosed that al Kuwaiti was a trusted operative of KSM's successor, abu Faraj al-Libbi. When al-Libbi went so far as to deny even knowing the man, his importance became obvious.

Both former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Michael McConnell have acknowledged repeatedly that up to 2006, many of the valuable leads pursued by the intelligence community came from the three prisoners who were subjected to harsh techniques that included waterboarding in order to secure their cooperation.

So far as the waterboarding technique used by CIA operators, as outlined in the memoranda released by the Department of Justice, it was entirely legal at the time, which is to say before the passage of later statutes in 2005 and 2006, by which time it was no longer in use and under which it has not been evaluated.

In other words, the harsh interrogation techniques were both effective and lawful.

Lawler goes on to point out that McCain's (and CIA director Leon Panetta's) narrative differs from Mukasey's on the facts regarding the effectiveness of waterboarding, and it's not clear whose story is more accurate. Lawler also notes that Mukasey hasn't addressed McCain's objection that the methods used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were immoral, not just ineffective. However, while Mukasey may have not directly addressed the morality of the issue, one may reasonably argue that NOT allowing enhanced interrogation is immoral.

As Rabi Aryeh Spero points out:

"A moral society does not stand by, doing nothing, while an innocent person is about to be killed. It is our moral duty to stop those intent on killing innocent people, or those complicit and knowing of others who wish to kill, before the murder takes place. The "dignity" of the would-be murderer, his treatment, should be inconsequential to those in position to stop him. Indeed, by stopping the terrorist, through coercion, before he murders, we are saving the would-be murderer himself from the sin of murder."
And Rabi Spero doesn't stop there. He goes on to succinctly characterize people like McCain, many Democrats, and their liberal and left wing colleagues across the globe:
"Normal people understand their obligation to first protect and be concerned about the lives and safety of those for whom they are responsible: first, your family, then your community and nation. As a consequence, these delineations should provide moral comfort. But to child-like purists, the intellectually lazy, and those wishing to always be beyond criticism, anything harsh is unjustifiable no matter the catastrophic downside. Worse are the trans-nationalists at the New York Times and the ACLU who long ago exhibited their psychological abnormality by refusing to root for the lives of their countrymen over the lives and "sensibilities" of our enemies."
Which should make it clear to "normal" people that McCain was not just wrong on the three counts Mukasey speaks of, he was wrong on the moral issue as well.

Posted by Hyscience at May 13, 2011 9:06 AM



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