Sheldon Whitehouse: We've Been Misled On Torture Program

Sheldon Whitehouse on The Rachel Maddow Show explains how everything we've been told about the Bush administration's torture program is not true. Mad
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Sheldon Whitehouse on The Rachel Maddow Show explains how everything we've been told about the Bush administration's torture program is not true.

Maddow: You are on the Intelligence Committee which of course is reviewing the treatment of high value detainees in what's described as being an exhaustive investigation. You gave a very powerful speech on the Senate floor two nights ago about torture. We played a long piece of it and you talked about the degree to which the American people have been misled on the issue.

In what way do you think that we've been, that we've been misled. What do you think is wrong about the way we've been talking about and fighting about torture?

Whitehouse: The story line Rachel has been that, here are these al Qaeda terrorists who are tougher than anyone, and if you put them in front of FBI agents who have to give them Miranda warnings and inexperienced Army interrogators, they get no place. But then you turn them over to the tough, experienced CIA interrogators and then suddenly, very significant information that saved lives begins to emerge.

Maddow: That sounds like the outline of the President's speech on that in September 2006. That's exactly what he said.

Whitehouse: And exactly what Vice President Cheney had been saying and it's been the party line on this subject really from the very beginning.

Maddow: Yeah.

Whitehouse: The problem is that as you drill into it, you find out that all of the different elements aren't true. You find out that the CIA was actually the amateurish organization in interrogations and the FBI agents and the military interrogators were the true trained professionals.

Whitehouse goes on to explain that they're not at the stage in the investigation where chain of command issues are yet raised. He says there is justification for those issues to be raised during separate, executive branch investigations, which may be yet to come, and where executive privilege does not apply.

Sen. Whitehouse's speech on the Senate floor below the fold.

h/t CSPANJunkie for the vids.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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