Hey, have you heard? The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), just released a blistering 500-page report detailing the failings of the CIA in the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Specifically, the immense report reviewed the agency's detention and interrogation program, concluding that the CIA not only misled Congress and the White House, but also used abusive "enhanced interrogation techniques" that resulted in false information. And former Vice President Dick Cheney thinks the Senata report is "crap." All of it.
Appearing on Fox News Wednesday night, Cheney, who many consider the architect behind the so-called War on Terror, harshly criticized the Senate report and denied pretty much everything that's in it. The former vice president called the report "deeply flawed" — exactly the words the Senate committee used to describe the detention and interrogation program. Of course, Cheney defended the CIA and its actions multiple times. First, he says the CIA needed the program to "catch the bastards who killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 ... and that's exactly what [the CIA] did."Then, the former vice president further justified the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation" practices, which included waterboarding, extreme sleep deprivation, rectal feeding, stress boxes and stress positions, and making prisoners with broken legs and ankles stand on their injuries. The Senate report also found that prisoners were often kept naked or in diapers, and shackled to the ceiling. To Cheney, these "enhanced" practices were par for the course in a post-9/11 world. "What are you prepared to do to get the truth against future attacks against the United States?" he said.
Fox News anchor Bret Baier tried to press Cheney, particularly when he repeated that intelligence gained through these "enhanced interrogation techniques" successfully stopped potential terrorist acts. "This report said it was not successful," Baier said.
"The report's full of crap," Cheney responded. "Excuse me. I said 'hooey' yesterday, today I'll use the real word."
Keep in mind, Cheney admitted that he has yet to read the full report. However, he's insistent that CIA officials did not commit any acts of torture:
Torture was something we very carefully avoided. One of the reasons we went to the Justice Department because we wanted them to tell us where's the line, legally, between what's acceptable and what isn't. And they did.
There may have been "some problems" in the detention and interrogation program, Cheney conceded. But the Senate report definitely "doesn't represent the truth of what actually happened," he said. Oh, and if you were wondering, he would totally do it again — and by "it," I mean approving those techniques that the Senate report described as "brutal and far worse" than what anyone realized.
"I'd do it again in a minute," Cheney said. "Absolutely."
Meanwhile, Jose Rodriguez, who was head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time the detention and interrogation program was created, also called the report "crap" on Wednesday. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Rodriguez refuted the claim that intelligence garnered through abusive techniques didn't lead to thwarted attacks and the location of Osama bin Laden. "That's total bullshit," he said.
But Rodriguez did admit that there were some practices he had no idea about, such as rectal feeding. However, he claimed water boarding never happened at the Afghanistan black site, known as the "Salt Pit," until after August 2002:
Even though there were all sorts of problems at Salt Pit, I know of no waterboarding. It was done after we had received a binding legal opinion from justice and approval from the White House to proceed. ... I know of the waterboarding of the three guys pursuant to the August 2002 program.
The Senate report found that detainee Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times, while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times.
While in charge of the Counterterrorism Center, Rodriguez reportedly ordered the destruction of nearly 100 videotapes documenting detainee interrogations. Some of these tapes allegedly showed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah being waterboarded.
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