Today, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) dismissed the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other U.S. detention facilities. According to Issa, “we treated our hospital patients worse” than we treat al Qaeda detainees. Former attorney general John Ashcroft chimed in, joking that doctors “were poking needles into me”:
ISSA: It is sort of amazing that as a member of the permanent Select Intelligence Committee, I’ve never heard any allegation of any detainee being denied food or water for a week. It’s clear that we treated our hospital patients at times worse than al Qaeda.
ASCHROFT: What’s more, they were poking needles into me all the time time.
The torture tactics used in U.S. detention are far harsher than the “poking with needles” that Ashcroft underwent at the hospital. They include, as the Center for Constitutional Rights has observed, severe sleep deprivation, “forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, physical force, prolonged stress positions and prolonged sensory overstimulation, and threats with military dogs.” Some interrogations have resulted in “severe physical and mental pain and suffering.”
A rush transcript of this exchange was initially incorrect. We have corrected the post to reflect the accurate testimony. We regret the error.