Rice Channels Nixon: Since the President Authorized Torture, That Makes It Legal
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Recently, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with some students at Stanford University, where she is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute. When a student asked whether Rice had authorized torture, she refused to take responsibility, saying only that she "conveyed the authorization of the administration." She added that, "by definition," once the president authorized "enhanced interrogations," they were automatically legal:
Q: Is waterboarding torture?
RICE: The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture. So that's -- And by the way, I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did.
Q: Okay. Is waterboarding torture in your opinion?
RICE: I just said, the United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.
The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur, who obtained the video, said Rice "
" in her answer.
Ali Frick is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.