In a video for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Condoleezza Rice defends the United States’ torture program and confirms the role of Bush in the program itself.
The fact that Bush authorized waterboarding is not just now being revealed. Indeed, it has been known since he published his memoir.
However, as the ACLU points out, “What comes as a bit of a shock, perhaps, is how candid Rice is about the role of President Bush himself in authorizing torture.”
“Now Rice has confirmed that President Bush himself was involved in vetting the CIA’s request for approval to torture,” Alexander Abdo, staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Security Project writes.
“The president asked two very important questions in the decision to use these techniques,” Rice says. “He asked the CIA if it was necessary and he asked the Justice Department if it was legal. Both departments answered yes.”
“Only when he was satisfied that we could protect both our liberties and our security did he signal that we could go ahead,” former Secretary of State Rice says in the clip.
In the clip originally obtained by Foreign Policy, which is only 49 seconds long, Rice also claims that torture actually kept Americans safe after September 11, 2001.
“The fact that we have not had a successful attack on our territory traces directly to those difficult decisions,” Rice says in the brief portion of the five-minute video presentation.
“We couldn’t disagree more,” Abdo wrote.
This is far from baseless opinion. In a 2004 special review, the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General itself concluded that “[t]he effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured.”
In other words, even the inspector general of the CIA itself wouldn’t come out and say that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually worked.
Furthermore, a study published in March of last year revealed that torture is not only unexpectedly harsh but is also ineffective.
The researcher “found that in order for torture to generate even the smallest amount of actionable intelligence the state must make the supposedly ‘rational’ calculation to actually ‘torture innocent detainees for telling the truth in order to maintain torture as a threat against those who withhold information.’”
Abdo argues that beyond the fact that torture itself is not nearly as effective as apologists like Rice and others claim, it has also actually harmed our national security.
“Torture served as a recruiting tool for our enemies, and experienced American interrogators dissented from the use of torture, arguing that it didn’t work and would produce false statements that would waste time, even if it occasionally produced truthful ones,” Abdo said.
“The level of denial among torture supporters is astounding in the face of all of the evidence confirming that U.S. policy was in fact torture, including this month’s comprehensive bipartisan report from The Constitution Project,” Abdo added.
Yet we still know very little about the torture program and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report remains hidden from public eyes.
As such, the ACLU urges Americans to contact members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and tell them to release the 6,000-page factual report to the public.
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