More Lies From the Bush...
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.
Spencer Ackerman writes:
The Plank: WHO APPROVED BUSH'S SPEECH?: So it's not just me who sees the lies in Bush's defense of torture yesterday. My colleague Andrew Sullivan does as well, and so does ex-Justice Department official Marty Lederman (via Laura Rozen). That raises the question: Who vetted Bush's speech?
"Everybody," says a National Security Council spokesperson. "It was vetted, vetted and more vetted at every level of government." Well, like who in particular? Steve Hadley? John Negroponte? Condoleezza Rice? "Negroponte ... I imagine the Secretary of State, but I'm not sure. The primary vetters were [in the intelligence community], of course, the [Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte], Hayden. But this was vetted, vetted and vetted."
I'm told I'll have more reaction from the White House later, including (allegedly) an official statement, so I'll post that as soon as I have it....
BUSH LIES ABOUT RAMZI BIN AL SHIBH, ABU ZUBAYDAH AND TORTURE: Not that it should surprise anyone anymore, but yesterday's stomach-churning Bush speech defending torture contains this little number:
We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used--I think you understand why--if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.
Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks--a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
First, according to Ron Suskind, Abu Zubaydah didn't clam up because he was "trained to resist interrogation," but because he has the mental capacity of a retarded child. Second, the idea that Abu Zubaydah's interrogation tipped off the U.S. to the existence of Ramzi bin Al Shibh is just an outright lie. A Nexis search for "Ramzi Binalshibh" between September 11, 2001 and March 1, 2002--the U.S. captured Abu Zubaydah in March 2002--turns up 26 hits for The Washington Post alone. Everyone involved in counterterrorism knew who bin Al Shibh was. Now-retired FBI Al Qaeda hunter Dennis Lormel told Congress who Ramzi bin Al Shibh was in February 2002. Abu Zubaydah getting waterboarded and spouting bin Al Shibh's name did not tell us anything we did not already know.
Of course, most Americans don't have access to Nexis. And most Americans don't remember--and can't be expected to remember--newspaper coverage of Al Qaeda for a seven-month stretch between the attacks and Abu Zubaydah's capture. Bush is exploiting that ignorance to tell the American people an outright lie in order to convince them that we need to torture people. As Bush once said in another context, if this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?
While we are at it, consider that Slate does--presumably--pay its Lexis-Nexis bill, yet Slate's John Dickerson writes:
Bush tries once more to sell his security policies. By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine: I thought the details Bush offered today sounded fairly persuasive...
Memo to Jacob Weisberg: Slate will die unless you employ people who will use Google and Lexis-Nexis--not people who won't.