The Washington Post reported today of the creation of a document drafted by the Trump administration calling for a policy review that could authorize the CIA to reopen “black site” overseas and restart enhanced interrogation programs.
This has sent shock waves through the Beltway. After reading off his to-do list, Sean Spicer opened up the presser to questions.
The Washington Times' Paul Bedard was up first and asked, "Can you shed any light on this draft memo that's going around about interrogation practices — what agency did it originate from?"
Spicer replied, "I don't know, it's not a White House document." "I have no idea where it came from. I don't know how much clearer I can say it."
MSNBC's Kristin Welker tried to follow up on the explosive WaPo story and the Press Secretary immediately shut her down.
Welker asked, "I want to go back to that draft executive order that would undo restrictions for handling detainees. Has the president seen that draft E.O. (executive order)?"
Spicer feigned ignorance and Welker followed up, "The draft executive order that would undo the restrictions on how to handle detainees?"
Spicer started to get testy and replied, "You're asking me if a document that's not a White House document he's seen. I don't believe to the best of my knowledge."
Welker then tried to follow up and asked, "Since it is floating around with, is he considering bringing back black sites and waterboarding?"
Spicer replied, "I'm not answering hypotheticals about documents that are floating around, OK, Kristen, we're going to end this right now. Hunter?"
Since Donald Trump campaigned on bringing back waterboarding and harsher treatment for detainees, why is Spicer surprised this has surfaced?
And it's also not shocking that reporters would not believe Spicer's claims since he has not been very truthful in his short tenure as press secretary.
The Washington Post article is as explosive as it sounds:
The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, would revoke a 2009 decision by then-President Barack Obama to end the CIA program and would reinstate a 2007 order issued by President George W. Bush that allowed a modified version of the “rendition and interrogation” operation to continue.
The draft, labeled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants,” notes that the United States has “refrained from exercising certain authorities critical to its defense” in the war against terrorism, including “a halt to all classified interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency.”