What should you do when caught lying about torture? AskSteve Martin (late-70’s vintage).
You.. can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes! You can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes! You say.. “Steve.. how can I be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes?” First.. get a million dollars. Now.. you say, “Steve.. what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You.. have never paid taxes’?” Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language:“I forgot!”
The Justice Department backed away Wednesday from a denial by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of responsibility for the treatment of a Canadian who was seized by U.S. authorities in 2002. The man was deported to Syria, where he was imprisoned and beaten.
Asked at a news conference on Tuesday about a Canadian commission’s finding that the man, Maher Arar, was wrongly sent to Syria and tortured there, Gonzales replied, “Well, we were not responsible for his removal to Syria.” He added, “I’m not aware that he was tortured.”
The attorney general’s comments caused puzzlement because they followed front-page news articles of the findings of the Canadian commission. It reported that based on inaccurate information from Canada about Arar’s supposed terrorist ties, U.S. officials ordered him taken to Syria, an action documented in public records.
On Wednesday, a Justice Department spokesman said Gonzales had intended to make only a narrow point: that deportations are now handled by the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Justice.
Spokesman Charles Miller said Gonzales forgot that at the time of Arar’s deportation, such matters were still handled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was part of the Justice Department.
Asked why Gonzales appeared to cast doubt on the Canadian finding that Arar had been tortured, Miller said, “I wouldn’t go beyond what he said.”