Vice President Dick Cheney is at it again, defending the use of torture. He told the AP yesterday that he saw no reason for President Bush to preemptively pardon anyone who authorized or was involved in harsh interrogation techniques, and that he has no qualms about the reliability of intelligence obtained through waterboarding. He said that waterboarding has been used with “great discrimination by people who know what they’re doing” and produced much valuable information, without providing any specific examples. His assertion that torture produces actionable intelligence has been called seriously into question by high-level military leaders, intelligence professionals, and the director of the FBI.
President-elect Barack Obama, on the other hand, today said that his administration will “uphold our highest values and ideals” in its approach to fighting terrorism. When asked whether he would continue a policy of harsh interrogation, he replied that he has told CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta and retired Admiral Dennis Blair (chosen to be director of national intelligence) that he expects the Geneva Conventions to be honored. January 20 can’t arrive soon enough for the rule of law.