From C-SPAN's Newsmakers April 26, 2009. Pete Hoekstra denies that the interrogation methods used by the CIA were built from the SERE program, and he's just not all that concerned about whether they originated with communist regimes and were designed to get false confessions from the prisoners being waterboarded.
Shane: Does it bother you at all that these methods were borrowed from the military SERE training program, which was created, grew out of a military program created in the 1950's based on Chinese communist interrogation methods which were studied because they had produced false confessions. American pilots who'd been captured after enduring these kinds of methods had given false confessions. And in those days it was called torture. So the program was essentially based on communist torture methods which were known to have produced false confessions. Isn't that a sort of odd basis on which to build an interrogation program?
Hoekstra: Well I wouldn't say that that's what this interrogation program was built on. I think what this interrogation program was built on was a broad collection of taking a look at how interrogations have been done. How they've been done, you know, how they're done in a law enforcement mechanism here within the United States. How they've been used and administered through other conflicts, through other wars. Who used what and as you went through this whole process the people that were responsible for developing this regime of interrogation that were eventually approved and implemented both through the Executive branch and in many cases were reviewed by Congress and approved by Congress that they were then put into effect.
I'm not necessarily worried about what technique came from what type of previous use of interrogation. It is whether the interrogation that we were going to put into a program, whether from a legal stand point we believed that we met US law. And the second thing is whether we believed that they would be effective. And the administration and others that looked at this program, looked at the techniques, reached a conclusion that number one they were consistent with US law and secondly reached a conclusion that they would be effective in getting information for America.
Just what US law condones waterboarding Congressman? Or any of the other techniques that were being used by the CIA on prisoners at Gitmo or these black sites? Isn't the fact that we used waterboarding on our military in the SERE program what you and your cohorts keep continually citing as the justification for why waterboarding is not torture? But when someone points out the reason the SERE program was put in place and where it came from, now you're going to try to put some distance between the two. Isn't that special?
He then is asked what the Democrats should have done had any of them had objections to the program. His answer. They should have reported it to...themselves! Or if that didn't get them anywhere, the President. I seem to remember Jello Jay Rockefeller doing something along that line with his hand written note to Darth Cheney. A lot of good that did him.
Later in the show they commented on Rep. Hoekstra requesting a list of all of the Democrats and the dates that they were briefed on the interrogation methods. I guess that's the next round of theater we can expect from the House floor once he gets it.
Of course the big elephant in the room that isn't being talked about is that false confessions were exactly what they were looking for to justify invading Iraq. And since the media was complicit in that as well, we're not going to hear that from them.