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Headline: Mukasey Hedges on Waterboarding

In his first appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee since taking office as US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey said that his opinion on the legality of waterboarding as an interrogation technique would depend on the circumstances.

Mukasey's reluctance to comment stems from the fact that waterboarding is not officially considered part of CIA interrogation protocols. A ruling, therefore, is not needed. Mukasey went on to say that in an instance where the CIA director might want to use this technique, it would be an issue that would have to go before the President as well as notification sent to the Judiciary Committee.

In one exchange:

Senator Kennedy asked, "Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?"

To see Mukasey's response,


Mukasey answered, "I would feel that it was."

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) opened the hearing saying this:

"Torture and illegality have no place in America . . . waterboarding has been recognised as torture for the last 500 years. We prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Americans during World War Two."

Was Mukasey right to demure as a matter of relevance and national security? Do we need our Attorney General to state that waterboarding is torture? Do you think it is?


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