At today’s press conference Scott McClellan claimed he has never heard reports that the United States sent detainees to Syria, where they were tortured:
QUESTION: There are allegations that we sent people to Syria to be tortured…
MCCLELLAN: To Syria?
QUESTION: Yes. You’ve never heard of any allegations like that?
MCCLELLAN: No, I’ve never heard that one. That’s a new one.
QUESTION: Syria? You haven’t heard that?
MCCLELLAN: That’s a new one.
QUESTION: Well, I can assure you it’s been well publicized. My question is…
MCCLELLAN: By what, bloggers?
Actually it was reported on page A1 of the Washington Post more than two years ago:
A Canadian citizen who was detained last year at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as a suspected terrorist said Tuesday he was secretly deported to Syria and endured 10 months of torture in a Syrian prison.
McClellan himself was asked about in on 2/28/05:
Q Has the President ever issued an order against torture of prisoners? And do we still send prisoners to Syria to be tortured?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has stated publicly that we do not condone torture and that he would never authorize the use of torture. He has made that –
Q But has he issued an order?
MR. McCLELLAN: — statement very publicly, and he’s made it clear to everybody in the government that we do not torture.
Q Well, why do we still hear these stories then?
MR. McCLELLAN: If there are allegations of wrongdoing, then the President expects those allegations to be fully investigated and if there is actual wrongdoing that occurs, then people need to be held to account. The President has made that very clear.
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.