Easy there, pal. Are the prosecutions politically insane? Sure. Dangerous to national security? Very possibly. Likely to result in more renditions as an end-around this sort of headache in the future? All signs point to yes. But “bulls**t” and “disgraceful”? Holder’s limiting his focus (supposedly) to agents who went beyond the Bush guidelines. If it’s bulls**t for the AG to do even that, what’s the alternative? Carte blanche for the CIA? Let’s not make the same absolutist mistake about enhanced interrogation that our progressive betters always do.
Although, that said, it sure would be nice if our “shock the conscience” standard employed a conscience a bit hardier than, say, Andrew Sullivan’s.
“You’re talking about threatening to kill a guy, threatening to attack his family, threatening to use an electric drill on him – but never doing it,” King said. “You have that on the one hand – and on the other you have the [interrogator’s] attempt to prevent thousands of Americans from being killed.”
“When Holder was talking about being ‘shocked’ [before the report’s release], I thought they were going to have cutting guys’ fingers off or something – or that they actually used the power drill,” he said.
Pressed on whether interrogators had actually broken the law, King said he didn’t think the Geneva Convention “applies to terrorists,” and that the line between permitted and outlawed interrogation policies in the Bush years was “a distinction without a difference.”
“Why is it OK to waterboard someone, which causes physical pain, but not threaten someone and not cause pain?” he asked, warning of a “chilling” effect on future CIA behavior…
“They’ve declared war on the CIA. We should resist and fight back as hard as we can,” he said. “It should be a scorched earth policy…. This isn’t just another policy. This goes to the heart of our national defense. We should do whatever we have to do.”
Maybe he does want carte blanche. Although personally, I like Goldfarb’s idea better. Exit question via Ramesh Ponnuru: “[S]ince career prosecutors have already reviewed the cases under discussion and declined to pursue charges, how does it serve the rule of law for Attorney General Eric Holder to re-open the question?”
Update: How far will the media go to shift blame from Obama? This far. Click the image to watch.