Monday, April 27, 2009

Bond: "We Do Not Torture"

Sen. Kit Bond disputed an Senate Armed Services Committee report that says interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo Bay were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

Bond, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said none of the interrogations he was aware of had anything to do with the sort.

"To my knowledge, none of those had anything in establishing a link. The whole purpose was to gain cooperation to find out who the leaders of Al Qaeda were and about planned attacks on the United States," Bond said appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews.

Bond later said that the United States was not guilty of torture for using the waterboarding technique on military detainees.

"We do not torture," he said. "The thing that has hurt our country is the statements like the Senate Armed Services Committee report," he went on.

The Armed Services report quotes an army psychiatrist saying "a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq."

Bond promised a "thorough investigation in our committee of how these methods were used and what information they got."

But Bond already began making the case that the techniques were lawful and yielded good intelligence.

"We use that same technique on over 100,000 volunteers for the Marines, the Seals and pilots," Bond said of waterboarding. "They look very carefully at it. It is a very unpleasant tactic. I have offered legislation to ban it. But it did produce, according to what we've heard, information that kept America safe," Bond said.

"We've heard from previous directors of Central Intelligence and the current director of National Intelligence that these tactics provided valuable information and ever our 2006 work in the Intelligence Committee, unanimously approved by all members, Republican and Democrat said this is a good program, we want to know more about it, but this has been very effective," Bond said.

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