“I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases,” Fiorina told Yahoo News. “And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary.”
A Senate report last year portrayed waterboarding as “near drownings” that were tantamount to torture and concluded that the agency’s often brutal interrogations produced little actionable intelligence. But Fiorina rejected those conclusions, calling the report “disingenuous” and “a shame” that “undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe.”
Fiorina’s remarks drew an immediate rebuke from Naureen Shah, director of the security and human rights program at Amnesty International USA, which last week filed a complaint with the Justice Department requesting an investigation into why prosecutors have not reopened a criminal probe of those responsible for waterboarding and other abusive practices — such as “rectal feeding” and rectal searches — based on new details documented in the Senate report.
“It’s outrageous for anybody to claim that torture was limited or that this is the way the U.S. should have conducted business after 9/11,” said Shah about Fiorina’s comments to Yahoo News. “This is completely rewriting the history of what happened.”
“One of the things that I advised the NSA and CIA to do is to be as transparent as possible about as much as possible — because transparency reassures people,” Fiorina said in the interview. “Intelligence agencies that engage in covert activity need to be very creative about how they can be transparent while not jeopardizing our personnel and sources and methods.”
One specific recommendation she made, Fiorina said, involved Jose Rodriguez, the former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who supervised the agency’s aggressive interrogation of terror suspects and later came under criminal investigation for ordering the destruction of videotapes of the waterboarding of two high-value detainees. (No charges were ever filed.)
In 2007, Rodriguez was preparing to retire, and instead of maintaining his covert identity, as was the custom for agency covert operatives, Fiorina said, she urged that “he step forward and be a spokesman for the agency.”
“The reason I made that recommendation is that people would have been amazed to meet him,” Fiorina said. “People would have been surprised by who he was, and what he had done. … For the American people to look into your eyes, to see your face, to hear your story — they are going to see you’re not some scary guy. You’re actually a small, mild-mannered man who cares deeply about the safety of the nation and dedicates his life to the safety of the nation.”
Rodriguez, whose identity became known in any case because of the criminal probe, has since publicly stepped forward, writing a book, “Hard Choices” (with former CIA chief of public affairs Bill Harlow), that vigorously defended the agency’s interrogations of terror suspects. He also contributed to a book, “Rebuttal,” by former agency officials — including former directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Hayden — that was released last week and sought to refute the Senate torture report.
Harlow told Yahoo News in an email that Rodriguez is not acting as an adviser to Fiorina’s campaign but got to know Fiorina when she chaired the advisory board and was “very impressed with her then — and now.” Added Harlow: “ She does seem to do her homework, unlike some other candidates who appear to make stuff up on the fly.”
Told of Fiorina’s suggestion that Rodriguez should have been a “spokesman” for the CIA, Amnesty International’s Shah said she was “astounded,” given that he acknowledged ordering the destruction of the CIA’s waterboarding videotapes. “Jose Rodriguez has said he tried to destroy evidence of torture,” she said. “To make that person a spokesman for the U.S. government would be a total travesty of justice.”
Fiorina offered another example of where the U.S. intelligence community could be more transparent — by providing more information about a giant NSA facility it is building outside Salt Lake City, Utah, to store data. “People need to understand why, what is that for?” she said. “I think many people will be reassured” when they learn the details, she said.
Fiorina said, “I’m not aware of circumstances” in which NSA surveillance “went too far,” although she supports “the checks and balances” put into place by Congress by ending agency bulk collection of phone records. She also suggested that there were greater government threats to privacy than NSA surveillance and other U.S. intelligence programs.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is sweeping up hundreds of millions of credit records and mortgage applications on ordinary American citizens,” she said. “Congress does not have oversight on them. They are a bunch of bureaucrats. They are accountable to no one. I tell you — that worries me a lot. So I wish somebody would start talking about the kinds of information that government has in civilian agencies, whether it’s your health care records that government has through Obamacare or it’s mortgage applications.”
People like Feinstein do not worry about keeping people safe; they only generate reports critical of when those who ARE responsible for keeping people safe fail to to so 100% of the time. So, her criticism of extraordinary means to provide safety that actually succeeds falls flat and is, obviously, totally partisan.
Amnesty International views the world through the lens of niceness. Yet, does AI do anything critical of Iran’s support of terrorism, an agreement to allow Iran to acquire more weaponry, including nuclear weaponry or radical Islamic terror on innocent people?
In Lassen County in northern CA an entire lake disappeared overnight.
It was part of a group of reservoirs needed for Californians drinking water.
Thousands of fish lie dead on its muddy remains.
But that federal building uses over 1 billion gallons of water every day!
Utah has been considering cutting off all the extra water (over what the feds claimed they’d need) because of the Western drought being so bad.
Is all that water worth what the feds are doing there?
Will we ever know?
Water torture has been around for millenniums. Pelosi and Feinstein have tried to play dumb. So how dumb is the Senate leader on the Committee for Intelligence? Fiorina is as dumb as they come, no new hope here.