Mukasey Still Refuses to Call Waterboarding Torture Or Illegal

This post, written by Matt Corley, originally appeared on Think Progress

In a written response to questions from Senate Democrats today, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey refused to explicitly say whether he believed waterboarding to be torture. In the four-page letter, Mukasey called the interrogation technique "over the line" and "repugnant" on "a personal basis," but added that he would need the "actual facts and circumstances" to strike a "legal opinion":
Hypotheticals are different from real life and in any legal opinion the actual facts and circumstances are critical.
CNN's Ed Henry notes that with his "facts and circumstances" hedge, "essentially Michael Mukasey is dodging the question of whether legally waterboarding is torture." Watch Henry's report in the video to your right.

Senate Democrats have said that Mukasey's answer on the question of waterboarding and torture is crucial to their vote on his confirmation. "It's fair to say my vote would depend on him answering that question," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told reporters last week. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called it "the seminal issue."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a judge advocate general in the military, has said that it shouldn't be difficult for Mukasey to be clear on the issue:
If he does not believe that waterboarding is illegal, then that would really put doubts in my own mind because I don't think you have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates" the Geneva Convention and other statutes.
Time reported earlier today that if Mukasey "refuses to declare waterboarding expressly illegal, he looks likely to be rejected by the Judiciary Committee."

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.