Secretary of State Hillary got into a verbal tussle this afternoon with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher during today’s Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Congressman Rohrabacher asked her if she agreed with former VP Dick Chaney’s suggestion that more interrogation memos be declassified, specifically the ones that showed that the interrogation techniques resulted in avoiding major terror attacks on US Soil . Clinton avoided the question by responding, “It won’t surprise you that I don’t consider him to be a particularly reliable source of information.”
Rohrabacher shot back, ““ Madam Secretary, I asked you a specific question…Dick Cheney has asked that specific documents be declassified. I didn’t ask you what your opinion is of Dick Cheney and if you want to maintain your credibility with us, what is your opinion on the release of those documents?”
After the meeting Rohrabacher released a statement that said:
“It is unconscionable that the Secretary of State called into question former Vice President Dick Cheney’s integrity,” She stretched her own credibility to the limits by suggesting the information about interrogations was not made available to her during her tenure as a sitting senator on the Armed Services Committee. That was a huge issue at that time.
Her refusal to indicate support for the declassification of documents that gives context and greater insight into the interrogation decisions is a bad omen concerning the openness of this administration.”
What Rohrabacher could have added is that Chaney’s claim of US lives being saved by waterboarding was backed up by her colleague in the Obama administration, Dennis Blair, President Obama’s director of intelligence.
As Ed Morrissey reported at Hot Air:
President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.
The New York Times, which got a copy of the memo, also notices some odd redactions from the version released by the White House:
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given
So which is it Ms Clinton? Are both Dick Cheney and Dennis Blair liars, or are you telling a litte fib? I guess it depends what “is” is.