Bush Advisor Claims He Doesn't Know Whether the White House Approves Waterboarding

This post, written by Amanda Terkel, originally appeared on Think Progress

Yesterday on CNN, White House adviser Ed Gillespie defended attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey's legal dodge on whether waterboarding constitutes torture. Mukasey called the technique "hypothetical."

Gillespie similarly tried to claim that waterboarding doesn't exist. "[F]irst of all, this technique, we don't know that it's used by the government or is used by the government," he said. "That's never been confirmed by the U.S. government."

Host John Roberts called out Gillespie's dodge, noting, "It's widely held that waterboarding was what broke Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to get him to divulge all of the information that he had." Gillespie simply replied, "[T]he fact is the government doesn't confirm techniques regardless of whether they're used or not used." Watch it to your right.

While Bush administration officials have refused to publicly say whether or not they waterboard detainees, CIA officials have repeatedly told the media that they have carried out this torture. Some examples:
- In one of the administration's most high-profile cases, al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reportedly endured waterboarding two minutes -- "far longer than any of the other 'high-value' terror targets who were subjected to the technique." A former CIA officer called it an "extraordinary amount of time for him to hold out."
- In 2005, the CIA subjected Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi to weeks of "enhanced interrogation." CIA officials stated that he "finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals."
- In 2002, "a presidential finding" authorized a list of CIA interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. In 2005, current and former CIA officials confirmed to ABC News that they were trained to waterboard detainees, which entailed "handcuff[ing] the prisoner and cover[ing] his face with cellophane to enhance the distress."
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