NEWS: The torture test

Bush administration blocked waterboarding critic

A senior Justice Department official, charged with reworking the administration’s legal position on torture in 2004 became so concerned about the controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding that he decided to experience it firsthand, sources told ABC News.

Daniel Levin, then acting assistant attorney general, went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

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. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — Does Cheney have as much guts as an acting assistant attorney general? Or does he think waterboarding guidelines should include a clause that exempts anyone with a pacemaker?

Mukasey all but a shoo-in for approval

Michael B. Mukasey appeared on Friday to be all but assured of becoming the nation’s 81st attorney general when two Senate Democrats broke ranks and said they would support the retired federal judge to head the Justice Department.

While acknowledging serious concerns about his views on interrogation techniques, Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York said they would vote to confirm Mukasey when the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up his nomination to succeed Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday. [complete article]

See also, John Dean on Mukasey (TPM) and The torture litmus test (Scott Horton).

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