Right-Wing Pundits Support Cheney’s Torture Policy, Experts Don’t

Recently, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss visited Congress to argue that the CIA needs an exemption to legislation banning torture to have “maximum flexibility in dealing with the global war on terrorism.”

Several right-wing talking heads have argued in support of the Cheney proposal:

John Gibson: However, I don’t think Vice President Cheney is out of line asking for an exemption for the CIA from a law that will make torture by the U.S. government agents illegal. [Fox News, 11/7/05]

Bill O’Reilly: Now I agree that the military shouldn’t torture under any circumstances no branch of the military, but I would make the CIA exception because of weapons of mass destruction scenarios. [Fox News, 11/2/05]

CIA experts disagree. In an op-ed today, former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith argued forcefully against the exemption:

Americans do not join the CIA to commit torture. Yet that could be the result if a proposal advanced by Vice President Cheney becomes law. “¦ McCain wisely rejected that proposal. So should the [Defense bill] conferees. [Washington Post, 11/9/05]

With both the Senate and intelligence officials coming out against torture, it’s no wonder the White House is dodging questions about its efforts to carve out exemptions.