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Shut Up, You Grumpy Old Man

You want torture? Watch this sober.

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Grandpa Simpson is apparently relieved that the election is over so he can sow his mavericky oats once again, and hopefully recover his base. The media:

I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.

I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.

Look, that’s great and everything that you are writing op-eds in the WaPo, but some of us remember that every single time it mattered, you were no where to be found:

Today the Senate voted 51-45 to adopt the Conference Committee’s intelligence authorization bill. Included in that bill is section 327, a Feinstein Amendment that would require all agencies of the U.S. government, not simply the military — to limit interrogation techniques to those identified in Army Field Manual 2-22.3. Section 327 reads as follows:

    SEC. 327. LIMITATION ON INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES.
    (a) LIMITATION.—No individual in the custody or under the effective control of an element of the intelligence community or instrumentality thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations.
    (b) INSTRUMENTALITY DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘instrumentality’’, with respect to an element of the intelligence community, means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier of the element of the intelligence community.

    Only five Republicans voted for the bill–Senators Collins, Hagel, Lugar, Smith and Snowe.

Conspicuously absent from this list is, of course, Senator and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has bravely led several previous legislative efforts to prohibit torture. Senator McCain has issued an explanation for his vote, reprinted below. According to the Director of the FBI and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency [see this video at 1:30-1:32], the Army Field Manual techniques are sufficient for both the military and the FBI to successfully interrogate detainees, including those who might have critical information that might prevent imminent harm to U.S. persons. But apparently Senator McCain has concluded that such techniques are not enough for the CIA.

McCain “bravely led” on the issue of torture by repeatedly pointing out he was tortured in Viet Nam every single time he stepped in front of a camera. Then, when he had the chance to vote against it, to actually do something and to vote his beliefs, he declined. It has been that way on everything with the man- talk loudly, but forget to carry your stick. He flipped on virtually every “belief” he had in the last election, as well. But now that a President has firmly banned torture, McCain is out and about, getting himself some press time, reminding everyone that torture is bad and oh, by the way, did you know he was a victim of torture?

Maverick!

I wish one of those stooges in the press would ask McCain if we should prosecute those who torture. And if so, when McCain plans to make sure that happens. Yeah. Whatever.