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The Bush Administration’s swan song consists of a series of increasingly absurd claims designed to cover its crimes and failings. The most persistent of these is the claim that torture was necessary to save lives, and that attacks were in fact averted through the use of torture techniques. Vice President Cheney continued his crusade for torture yesterday insisting that torture is the “moral” thing to do (helping to explain the origins of Cheney’s Washington nickname, “vice”). Vanity Fair’s David Rose takes a look at the administration’s case for torture, and specifically its claims that torture averted attacks or at least produced actionable intelligence of some sort. He walks us through all the claims, one by one, and finds that they are all contradicted by the facts. Some of the sources did produce useful intelligence, but in no case was the application of torture the reason why, nor did it even contribute to the result. In the final lines of his article, he has this exchange with FBI director Robert Mueller:
I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been
disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?
“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”
Mueller is “reluctant to answer” because he knows that Cheney and other administration spokespersons have repeatedly made that claim. And he knows that it is a lie which has been advanced for a specific reason: to cloak their criminal conduct.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”