December 11, 2014

Last night, the CIA’s torture chief, José Rodriguez, revealed to Fox News viewers he thinks that torturing is an act of courage. Host Megyn Kelly pitched in to help validate the claim.

The night before, Rodriguez got a friendly platform on Hannity where his part in the concealment of CIA practices was never revealed. His secrets remained safe with Kelly, too. If she caught Rodriguez’ evasive answers to Sean Hannity, she never let on about that either.

In fact, “straight news anchor” Kelly showed none of the passion for “both sides” with Rodriguez she displayed when shouting at interviewing African American Congressman Al Green about Ferguson.

In her first question, Kelly deflected from the torture report and gave Rodriguez an opening to attack the Obama administration which ended the practices: “They’re so critical of you and your program and yet when asked to justify the drone program, where does the White House go? Right to the terrorists’ behavior to try to justify what we’re doing is in response to what they’re doing. But when it comes to what you did, you don’t get that same benefit of the doubt.

“That is correct,” Rodriguez agreed. He said he is “so tired” of hearing from the Obama administration that torture is “against our values.” In fact, Rodriguez seemed to think nothing could be more admirable than torturing. “This administration does not have the fortitude and the courage to do what it takes to do the mission of capturing and detaining terrorists,” he said.

Rather than dispute Rodriguez’ portrayal of torture as an act of courage, Kelly chimed in, “They’d rather use the drones.”

Kelly scoffed about the Obama administration “claiming the moral authority here, even though innocents do get killed in these drone strikes. You know, collateral damage, if you will. And yet, they’re really hard on the CIA for the death of one terrorist during the enhanced interrogation program.”

Now, I happen to think Kelly has a point about drones. But trying to excuse torture by pointing to drone use is disingenuous, dishonest, disreputable and disgusting. Can you point to any discussions where Kelly probed the ethics of drones? I can’t.

Kelly made a half-hearted stab at balance by bringing up tactics the torture report said were “not approved by any of the lawyers" but "employed, they claim, in this report,” such as anal rehydration. Kelly added, “Which they say is torture, which the CIA had no business doing.” But Kelly also signaled there would be no serious challenge to Rodriguez by concluding with, “Your thoughts on it.”

Rodriguez claimed he had no idea “what they were talking about.”

Kelly accepted that unquestioningly, even though Rodriguez was supposed to be the overseer. Instead, she amplified his point and threw the report into question: “So you deny that piece of the reporting. You deny that that was a tactic ever used, to your knowledge.”

Ironically, Kelly criticized Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that produced the torture report, for being too credulous of previous CIA representations that detainees were merely given “tummy slaps.” Kelly sneered, “Query whether she really should have believed that that’s what we were briefing Congress about, was tummy slaps. But she claims that’s as much as she was informed of.”

Again, Rodriguez said he had no idea what Feinstein was talking about, saying “nobody went out there to try to mislead Congress.”

Predictably, Kelly never asked what the CIA did tell Congress.

Yet as Rodriguez went on to talk up torture in what he described as “a ticking time bomb” situation, Kelly agreed, “Yeah.”

Kelly never mentioned that the report found that torture did not stop a single terrorist attack and that the CIA lied about its successes in using torture to obtain intelligence.

This post was cross-posted, with minor changes, from

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