Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

TorturingDana Over Torture

Q Did the questioning of al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah conform with the interrogation program approved by President Bush?

MS. PERINO: I can’t comment on any specifics. So you might want to rephrase your question. It’s not — what you’re asking me is not something that I can confirm or respond to in that way.

Q I’m asking if it was within the guidelines — the interrogation techniques, was that within the guidelines of these programs approved by the President?

MS. PERINO: I will say that all interrogations — all interrogations have been done within the legal framework that was set out after September 11th, and they are measures that have been tough and limited. They are safe, and they have been very effective in helping prevent terrorist attacks on this country. All of the — the entire program has been legal.

Q Are you saying that whatever was done in this case was not torture?

MS. PERINO: I am saying that the United States does not torture. The President has been —

Q No, I’m asking you if what was done in this case was not torture, in your opinion.

MS. PERINO: I’m saying the United States does not torture.

[snip]

Q But when you have a former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, now saying that waterboarding was used — since you’re saying the interrogations were legal; he’s saying on the record now, waterboarding was used in at least one case. You’re saying waterboarding is legal?

MS. PERINO: Ed, I’m saying I’m not commenting on any specific technique. I’m not commenting on that gentleman’s characteristics of any possible technique. I’ve given you a very general statement about interrogations being legal, limited and —

Q You just said it was legal.

MS. PERINO: I’m sorry?

Q You said it was within the legal framework.

MS. PERINO: Yes.

Q Everything that was done.

MS. PERINO: Yes.

Q So waterboarding is legal.

MS. PERINO: I’m not commenting on any specific techniques. And you can ask me all sorts of different ways, and we can go back and forth, but I’m not going to do it, Ed.

The “Specific Technique” Is Out In The Open Now, Dana

Q Dana, can I come back to the waterboarding question? I understand the rationale for not wanting to discuss specific techniques — it’s to not tip off America’s enemies, to help them train as to how to evade what questioning they get. After a retired team member is on nationwide television explaining exactly what was done, is there an al Qaeda operative anywhere who doesn’t know that this might be in the arsenal?

MS. PERINO: Obviously, al Qaeda listens closely to everything that we do and say, and that’s something that we should be — that we should keep in mind. What the President said is that he’s going to do what it takes to protect this country in a legal way. The intelligence community has worked very hard in order to do that. Remember that the — and this is classified for a reason. We don’t talk about specific techniques. We don’t think it’s prudent. We don’t think it’s a good idea to do so.

[snip]

Q It’s true that things are classified for a reason, but the reason they are classified is very often to spare the government embarrassment, and it is therefore just as reasonable to ask that that not be the case.

MS. PERINO: I’m not able to comment on it. I’ve given you all that I can.

Dana Peroxide Says Free Trade Counteracts Torture

Q You just have picked a man to sell public diplomacy. All over the world, there is an understanding that we do torture. They’ve seen the photographs, they’ve heard everything. You ought to be bound and determined to clear that up.

MS. PERINO: I actually disagree, Helen. I think that people, what they have seen, is a United States that is helping people develop their democracies. We have spread hope and liberty. We expand trade.

Not Concerned AboutThe Legalities

Q Has the President asked again recently of the Department of Justice whether all interrogation techniques currently being used are legal? And with the arrival of a new Attorney General, will he again seek assurances from the Department of Justice that all interrogation techniques are legal?

MS. PERINO: Well, I would refer you to Justice Department in terms of what the Attorney — the new Attorney General is seeking. But in 2004 the Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo, and I would refer you to Steve Bradbury’s comment when we dealt with this I think three months ago.

Q The President feels no need to follow up on that?

MS. PERINO: No.

Finally, Your Daily Les

Q The Washington Times reports that during a conference call with reporters, Democrat National Chairman declared that during a recent debate, Republicans used outrageous phrases like “illegal aliens.” And my question: Does the President agree with Chairman Dean that it is outrageous to describe lawbreakers as illegal aliens?

MS. PERINO: I think it’s — I actually think that it’s a legally defined term. But the President has set out a path on immigration, and I’m not going to comment any further on Howard Dean’s comments.

6 thoughts on “Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

  1. Nora says:

    Is there anyone who really believes the stupid argument that if we mention that we’re waterboarding people, the terrorists will be able to defend themselves against it and that’s why we can’t tell the American people what’s being done in our name?
    I mean, really. We’re talking about an involuntary reflex here; you cannot train your body out of registering those sensations as the equivalent of drowning. You cannot make your biological response different, even if you know what’s going to happen.
    Isn’t it clear that the real reason Dana and her ilk refuse to admit to what interrogation techniques are used is because they know such techniques are illegal and in violation of the Geneva Conventions and thus war crimes? Let’s stop the stupid pretense that we’re keeping this secret to protect ourselves from the enemy; we’re keeping this secret to protect the President and everybody in his administration who’s been involved in this from being charged with war crimes and punished as war criminals.

  2. hoppy says:

    Nora, I’m sure Dana Peroxide has spent many hours trying to find some way she can tell all of the world exactly what we do when we torture POW’s. After all, she is definitely an intellectual, one who has deeply felt convictions about torture and how to do it legally. I would expect that she has even done field research, by traveling to GITMO to observe, and possibly even participate in some of the torture, just to settle this profound issue in her mind. You and I know she has to be an intellectual, since she clearly has no other attributes that might contribute to her holding this very important government post.

  3. mothra says:

    I really don’t know how Dana Peroxide can live with herself, justifying and rationalizing torture all the freakin’ time. I heard her on NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” program this past weekend and she basically admitted that she really hates Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas has more morals in her phlegm than Dana Peroxide has in her entire body. Bah, a pox on them all! (The White House jokers, that is)

  4. sparrow says:

    Her mother, according to Dana, was in the Carter Administration. I wonder if they’re still on speaking terms or if poor Dana has been cut out of the will.

  5. MapleStreet says:

    Note the weaseling – the interrogations comply with the law as it was put in place after 9/11. What about the law before it was perverted?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I know that there’s a Willie Shakespeare out there who will write a modern version of King Lear out of all of this. Tragedy? Farce? Maybe both?

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