Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A New Euphemism

Director of the CIA Porter Goss testified to Congress the other day that he could not say for certain whether CIA interrogation techniques used on foreign terrorism suspects since 9/11 were permissible under Federal laws prohibiting torture.
"At this time, there are no 'techniques,' if I could say, that are being employed that are in any way against the law or would meet - would be considered torture or anything like that," Mr. Goss said in response to one question.

When he was asked several minutes later whether he could say the same about techniques employed by the agency since the campaign against Al Qaeda expanded in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks in the United States, he said, "I am not able to tell you that."

He added that he might be able to elaborate after the committee went into closed session to take classified testimony...
...Asked about the legality of practices in the past, a government official said, "The C.I.A. has always complied with the legal guidelines it received from the Department of Justice in regard to interrogation."

Hmmmm, let's see...would those be the guidelines defining torture as any method that produce pain "of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure"? Guidelines drafted in part by our new Attorney General, Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales? Because, I dunno, I'd think you could hurt somebody pretty badly without actually killing them, that is, if you know what you're doing. And luckily for those terrorist suspects, they're in the hands of professionals:
In the session, Mr. Goss was challenged by Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. When Mr. McCain asked Mr. Goss about the C.I.A.'s previously reported use of a technique known as waterboarding, in which a prisoner is made to believe that he will drown, Mr. Goss replied only that the approach fell into "an area of what I will call professional interrogation techniques."

He vigorously defended "professional interrogation" as an important tool in efforts against terrorism, saying that it had resulted in "documented successes" in averting atacks and capturing important suspects. Mr. Goss said that Congress had been kept fully informed of the techniques used by the C.I.A., and that those currently being used did not constitute torture,which is prohibited by law.
Sure. Rewrite the laws, redefine torture and call it "professional interrogation."

"Water-boarding." "Stress positions." Forced nudity, sexual humiliation, sodomy, beatings resulting in broken bones and deaths...best to leave such things to the professionals.

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