In October 2007, during his confirmation hearings, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to call waterboarding torture and to this day has not called it torture. In his confirmation hearing today, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder clearly said that he believes waterboarding is torture:
HOLDER: If you look at the history of the use of that technique, used by the Khmer Rouge, used in the Inquisition, used by the Japanese and prosecuted by us as war crimes. We prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam. I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture.
In another break with Bush administration officials, Holder said other countries would be violating international law if they waterboarded U.S. citizens. Watch it:
Holder also said that the President cannot immunize officials who committed acts of torture. “No one is above the law,” he stated.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Barack Obama said, “Vice President Cheney, I think, continues to defend what he calls extraordinary measures or procedures and from my view waterboarding is torture. I have said that under my administration we will not torture.”