In today’s hearing, when pressed by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), David Addington refused to discuss the specific interrogation techniques authorized by the Bush administration. “I’m not in a position to talk about particular techniques…or their legal status,” he said. The reason? Because al Qaeda may be watching:
DELAHUNT: Oh I can understand why [the President] doesn’t talk about it.
ADDINGTON: Because you kind of communicate with al Qaeda. If you do — I can’t talk to you, al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN.
DELAHUNT: Right. Well, I’m sure they are watching, and I’m glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington.
ADDINGTON: Yeah, I’m sure you’re pleased.
The Bush administration has repeatedly used this excuse to stifle debate on controversial issues. Last August, National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell said “Americans are going to die” if surveillance is discussed openly. In July, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman told Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) that “public discussion” of an Iraq withdrawal “reinforces enemy propaganda.”