Don’t let all of the news on the Mukasey nomination cause you to overlook the fact that the CIA Director, General Michael Hayden, today defended the Bush Administration’s rendition and interrogation programs, saying that the programs are “as lawful as they are valuable.” Hayden also said that the CIA programs are consistent with our “broad values as a nation.”
When he was directly asked about waterboarding, Hayden hedged. He said, “Judge Mukasey cannot nor can I answer your question in the abstract,” and “I need to understand the totality of the circumstances in which this question is being posed before I can even answer that.”
Of course, torture is absolutely not an American value and is illegal under both domestic and international law. That the head of the CIA and a nominee for Attorney General are unwilling to admit that waterboarding is illegal torture should be of great concern to us all.