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Liz Cheney’s Non-Denial #2: Daddy Suggested–But CIA Refused to Execute–Waterboarding

A few weeks ago, Liz "BabyDick" Cheney took the the airwaves to defend her Daddy’s torture regime. But she very pointedly and repeatedly refused to deny a charge Norah O’Donnell challenged her to deny: that PapaDick was the "prime mover" of torture.

Check: According to his daughter, PapaDick Cheney was the prime mover on the torture policy.

Yesterday, BabyDick was refusing to deny allegations again. This time, that PapaDick had ordered up torture of an Iraqi so he would "reveal" ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.

STEPHANOPOLOUS: There were some reports this week that the Vice President’s Office, back in 2003, in April 2003, I believe, sent some sort of word, to Iraq, that a detainee in custody should be waterboarded in order to get information, to establish whether there’s a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda or more information on weapons of mass destruction.

[snip]

You’ve explained one part of it, I just want to ask you to explain another part of it. The report though that the vice president’s office did ask specifically to have information about Iraq-al Qaeda connections presented to this detainee, do you deny that?

LIZ CHENEY: I think that it’s important for us to have all the facts out. And and, the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program, it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA. [my emphasis]

More generally, BabyDick’s non-denial makes four points:

  • Two CIA officials said waterboarding was not used (with Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but BabyDick doesn’t note that) to establish such a link
  • The people claimed to be waterboarded are not any of the three on whom waterboarding was used
  • Lawrence Wilkerson’s story should not be trusted because he has made a cottage industry of attacking Cheney
  • CIA made the final decision on torture

But see what she doesn’t deny? That Cheney suggested–but CIA refused–to waterboard Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi. Look at precisely what the Daily Beast reported.

In his new book, Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq, and in an interview with The Daily Beast, Duelfer says he heard from “some in Washington at very senior levels (not in the CIA),” who thought Khudayr’s interrogation had been “too gentle” and suggested another route, one that they believed has proven effective elsewhere. “They asked if enhanced measures, such as waterboarding, should be used,” Duelfer writes. “The executive authorities addressing those measures made clear that such techniques could legally be applied only to terrorism cases, and our debriefings were not as yet terrorism-related. The debriefings were just debriefings, even for this creature.”

Duelfer will not disclose who in Washington had proposed the use of waterboarding, saying only: “The language I can use is what has been cleared.” In fact, two senior U.S. intelligence officials at the time tell The Daily Beast that the suggestion to waterboard came from the Office of Vice President Cheney. Cheney, of course, has vehemently defended waterboarding and other harsh techniques, insisting they elicited valuable intelligence and saved lives.

[snip]

But, Duelfer says, Khudayr in fact repeatedly denied knowing the location of WMD or links between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda and was not subjected to any enhanced interrogation. Duelfer says the idea that he would have known of such links was “ludicrous". [my empahsis]

Robert Windrem makes it very clear: OVP asked, but CIA refused, to waterboard Khudayr. So when BabyDick responds to Stephanopolous’ question of whether or not her Daddy asked to waterboard Khudayr by saying that the CIA "made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated," she’s not denying in the least that PapaDick asked for the torture. Only that–after CIA weighed whether it wanted to violate OLC restrictions of waterboarding to al Qaeda, not Iraqis, and decided they didn’t want to take up PapaDick’s suggestion–Khudayr was not waterboarded.

Check: According to his daughter, PapaDick was asking to have Khudayr waterboarded (but the CIA refused to go along). 

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