From ThinkProgress..on the eve of the vote on Mukasey..we hope..dare we pray, that this question will be at the forefront of the vote to deny this man the office of Attorney General of these United States; Is waterboarding torture Mr. Mukasey and do you support it? 24 Intel officials say DO NOT confirm this man in a letter to committee chair.
Last night, ABC World News reported that in 2004 then-acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin was so concerned about the administration's use of waterboarding that he went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure himself.
Levin took over former Office of Legal Counsel Jack Goldsmith's job when he resigned and immediately began reassessing the administration's interrogation techniques. Levin released a new memo in Dec. 2004 that replaced the 2002 Bybee memo. Levin's memo declared that "Torture is abhorrent" but also cautioned in a footnote that his memo was not declaring the administration's previous opinions illegal. "The White House, with Alberto Gonzales as the White House counsel, insisted that this footnote be included in the memo."
ABC reported that after Levin personally experienced waterboarding, he told the White House that it could be considered torture:
After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.
Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.
Levin was working on a second memo that would have imposed tighter controls on the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. While working on that memo, ABC reported "Levin was forced out of the Justice Department when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General." Watch it:
ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg reported, "Sources said Levin was seen as too independent by the Bush administration — not someone who could be counted on to endorse White House policies."
The Swamp's Mark Silva writes, "Perhaps Mukasey should take the water-board for a test-ride, too."
Keith Olbermann has a special comment tonight on torture, Mukasey and waterboarding..its a must see my dear reader. I will put the video up later, but for now..a piece of his SC:
On Daviel Levin, the former U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General, who was himself waterboarded to determine whether or not the act constituted torture and was therefore counter to the claims of the Bush Admininstration that it was not.
Water-boarding, he said, is torture.
Legally, it is torture .
Practically, it is torture.
Ethically, it is torture .
And he wrote it down.
Wrote it down somewhere, where it could be contrasted with the words of this country's 43rd President: "The United States of America does not torture."
Made you into a liar, Mr. Bush.
Made you into, if anybody had the guts to pursue it, a criminal.
Entire transcript of KO's SC here on the msnbc website.
Tags: Daniel Levin, waterboarding, Mukasey