Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hilllary's '07 blueprint for interrogation policy review

Remember when Hillary got in trouble back in October '07 for for this exchange about interrogation and detention policy?

Wash Post: Can I ask you a follow up? You mentioned Blackwater, you’ve said that at the beginning of your administration you’d ask the Pentagon to report. When it comes to special interrogation methods, obviously you’ve said you’re against torture, but the types of methods that are now used that aren’t technically torture but are still permitted, would you do something in your first couple days to address that, suspend some of the special interrogation methods immediately or ask for some kind of review?

HRC: Well I think I’ve been very clear about that too, we should not conduct or condone torture and it is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn’t doing, we’re getting all kinds of mixed messages. I don’t think we’ll know the truth until we have a new President. I think once you can get in there and actually bore into what’s been going on, you’re not going to know. I was very touched by the story you guys had on the front page the other day about the WWII interrogators. I mean it's not the same situation but it was a very clear rejection of what we think we know about what is going on right now but I want to know everything, and so I think we have to draw a bright line and say ‘No torture – abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed,' and then try to make sure we implement that.

Compare Greg Craig in yesterday's Times, speaking about rendition specifically Bush antiterror policy generally:

Mr. Craig noted that while Mr. Obama decided “not to change the status quo immediately,” he created a task force to study “rendition policy and what makes sense consistent with our obligation to protect the country.”

He urged patience as the administration reviewed the programs it inherited from Mr. Bush. That process began after the election, Mr. Craig said, when military and C.I.A. leaders flew to Chicago for a lengthy briefing of Mr. Obama and his national security advisers. Mr. Obama then sent his advisers to C.I.A. headquarters to “find out the best case for continuing the practices that had been employed during the Bush administration.
From the Administration's point of view, a comprehensive review of Bush era practices is simple prudence. Charged with protecting the nation against terrorist attack, they cannot simply tear up every element of the prior Administration's interrogation, detention and disclosure policies in one fell swoop. Which is not to say that civil liberties groups should let down their guard or ease up on their pressure. Countervailing pressures keep presidents on course -- and no one alive, placed in the President's chair, would not be tempted to err on the side of security over liberty when the two seem to conflict.

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