August 30, 2009

It looks like Mary Matalin, Chris Wallace and Bill Kristol all got their talking points from the same place for the Sunday shows this week. Matalin, like Wallace claims that we haven't been attacked since 9-11 and then names anthrax attacks as something that was prevented by the CIA after they tortured prisoners.

Uuummmm.... Mary, I hate to break this to you, but we were attacked by anthrax. But then you're fully aware of that already, aren't you? I doubt there's a single person in the Bush administration that has forgotten the event that was enough to scare some Democrats into voting for the invasion of Iraq.

I'm also wondering how many of the "attacks" she rattled off are on the list from Keith Olbermann's The Nexus of Politics and Terror? My guess is more than a few if she was forced to give specifics and maybe had someone besides her DINO husband and that hack John King sitting across the table from her.

As our own Jon Perr pointed out to me, Matalin is doing a good job of carrying water for Dick Cheney and his strategy to assure that torture is never investigated.

Transcript below the fold.

KING: Is that what he's doing, James, ducking the responsibility?

CARVILLE: Well, again, if you're Cheney, Alberto Gonzales is your model attorney general, because what you do is, is you put an attorney general in that was what the -- and Nixon did the same thing. There's just a different view of the way the Justice Department operates. And that's the vice president's view. We know what he views as a sort of model Justice Department. We saw it in action.

MATALIN: These were not Bush appointees. These were the creme de la creme, organized in a detainee abuse task force who sent out formal declamation memoranda. They said there was insufficient evidence of criminal content -- intent, insufficient evidence of criminal conduct, insufficient evidence of subject involvement, and low possibility or probability of conviction.

The Justice Department does law. The president does policy. Dick Cheney was being characteristically restrained. This is an act of presidential cowardice. This is a security policy. Clearly these interrogations were offered every bit -- almost every bit of information that we have, have saved endless attacks, anthrax attacks, the Brooklyn Bridge, a second wave mass casualty in Los Angeles, sleeper cells.

They discovered 70 trained for Western attacks that we didn't previously know. They learned the finances. They learned the network. They learned the philosophy. They indispensably worked. It is no accident that we were not attacked for the next seven years.

It is policy. It is the president's, as the commander-in- chief's, job and obligation to keep us safe. So it's an act of presidential cowardice to just say, I'm going to let Holder make this decision. These were not Bush appointees. So you can make the Gonzales point again. But they were career prosecutors.

CARVILLE: And, Mr. Durham, who is a career Republican, look at that, and maybe say -- again, there's a different thing. You have got Vice President Cheney, we will be greeted as liberators. You've got General Petraeus. You've got Ridge. You've got the entire United States military. You have the FBI.

In that instance, who do you trust to protect the country? Some people say we'll trust Cheney. Some people say the military and FBI...


KING: What about -- what about Orrin Hatch? What about Orrin Hatch? He was here and he's a conservative. But he is not known as a partisan flamethrower. And he served on the Intelligence Committee a long time. And he agreed with the vice president's point about politics. But he said the biggest concern to him was that a CIA guy faced with a decision in an interrogation is going to take the timid course out of fear of being investigated down the line. Does that give you pause?

CARVILLE: Well, what happened was, as I understand this, and it will come out is, the people that asked for the guidelines, that followed the guidelines, are not here. What apparently -- and who knows, like I said, this is not very good politics for the Democrats.

But, again, if you don't believe in a politicized Justice Department, as the Republicans obviously do, then the attorney general and these people are going to pursue this. I hope that it comes to nothing because it's not going to be good politics. This is not good politics for Democrats at all.

MATALIN: Systematic gutting of the post-9/11 policies that have kept us safe. He -- it's not just a revelation of all of these documents. He has moved -- this president has moved the interrogation, the intelligence-gathering from the CIA to the FBI, which is the -- the FBI collects evidence for the purposes of prosecuting after the fact. Intelligence in the security mode is for collecting intelligence before a terrorist attack.

So now the FBI -- this is 9/10. That is how we got to 9/11 in the first place. And it's going to be housed, overseen by the National Security Council, which is non-operational. One has to ask, what is Jim Jones doing in a non-operational role housing the interrogation process? Systematic gutting of our number one line of defense against terrorists.

CARVILLE: Again, I just say, as a Marine, I have to say the idea that a commandant of the Marine Corps is gutting national intelligence is...

MATALIN: That the president...


CARVILLE: It's doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But...


MATALIN: Jim Jones is the head of the National Security Council inside the White House. It's a non-operational arm.

CARVILLE: Right, right, I just don't think that the former commandant of the Marine Corps and the former commander of all NATO forces would, quote, "gut national security."

MATALIN: One hopes not.

CARVILLE: But that's my view and I'm entitled to it. I may be wrong.

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