Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"What Obama’s Intel Chief Really Believes About Torture…"

Greg Sargent:
The stakes in the torture debate just shot up dramatically with the revelation last night that Obama’s intelligence chief, Dennis Blair, wrote a memo saying torture had yielded some “high value information.”

Make no mistake: This memo will become a major feature of the Bushies’ ongoing campaign to shift the debate onto the narrow question of whether torture “worked” in hopes of salvaging their reputations in the wake of the torture memo revelations.

So here’s the question: Will the media clearly report Blair’s actual views about torture?

Blair released a statement late yesterday in which he clearly stated that there is no way of knowing whether means other than torture would have obtained the same info. More important, he said the damage done to us by torture “far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.” Blair has outlined these views elsewhere.

CNN managed to run an entire article about the Blair memo that didn’t even mention his statement. The Associated Press falsely claimed that Blair’s statement “backed away from what appeared to be an endorsement of the techniques’ effectiveness.”

This is really not complicated: Blair believes that some valuable info was collected via torture, but that torture is not essential to our security and has done far more harm than good. The Washington Post got Blair’s views right in its headline: “Intelligence Chief Says Methods Hurt U.S.”

That’s what Blair believes. The effort to obscure and twist this plain fact is going to be very intense today.

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