Ex-CIAer Jose Rodriguez Schools Andrea Mitchell: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Aren't Torture

Andrea Mitchell on the MSNBC program bearing her name Tuesday twice referred to "enhanced interrogation techniques" as "torture."

The second time, Jose Rodriguez, the former director of the CIA's National Clandestine Services, set the record straight (video follows with transcript and commentary):

ANDREA MITCHELL, HOST: Was the decades-long hunt for Osama bin Laden the result of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, otherwise known as torture approved by the Bush-Cheney White House and later outlawed by President Obama?

Jose Rodriguez had the key role in charge of the CIA’s Clandestine Services for years, a job that put him in charge of all covert operations against suspected terrorists, an effort that included the use of enhanced interrogation techniques and renditions – shipping suspects to black sites in countries that did use torture. He also acknowledges destroying tapes of CIA interrogations.

Jose Rodriguez has written a new book about all of that called “Hard Measures,” and he joins me now from New York.

Towards the end of the segment, Mitchell made this comparison again:

MITCHELL: But do you have any second thoughts about the enhanced interrogation techniques which are otherwise known as torture?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: I have no second thoughts, and they should not be equated with torture. And that is a myth that has gone on for too long, and one of the reasons why I wrote this book was to set the record straight. All of this was authorized by our government, was certified as legal by Justice, and was briefed to the Congress. So, you know, it’s pretty straightforward.

That warrants repeating: "All of this was authorized by our government, was certified as legal by Justice, and was briefed to the Congress."

Why is it that liberal media members like Mitchell refuse to acknowledge this?

Something else to consider is that irrespective of one's opinion of water boarding - which is actually used as part of the Air Force's Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) program - there are other enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized in March 2002.

ABCNews.com reported them in November 2005:

1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.

2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.

3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.

5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.


Does Mitchell view attention grabs and slaps as torture?

Even if she does, much of this is a smokescreen.

The real issue that's gotten the media's undies in a bunch since Rodriguez began his book tour is his view that such techniques led to the CIA discovering the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and therefore his execution.

Folks like Mitchell and her ilk want the victory lap on the one year anniversary of bin Laden's death to themselves and the 44th President who they helped put in office and want reelected.

The notion that anything George W. Bush and Dick Cheney authorized might have even remotely been a factor in what happened a year ago in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is galling them, and somehow they'll all feel better if the means to such information was torture.

In their twisted logic, then it wouldn't count.

As I've said for years, it takes a staggering amount of rationalizations to be a liberal these days - especially if you work for MSNBC.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.