McCain: Bybee Violated The Law, But It Was Just ‘Very Bad Advice’

Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeated his view that the United States had conducted torture by authorizing waterboarding. Saying the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times was “unacceptable,” McCain declared, “One is too much. Waterboarding is torture, period.”

However, discussing torture on CBS’s Face the Nation today, McCain insisted, “We’ve got to move on” and ignore the Bush administration’s torture program. Indeed, McCain refused to support the impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee — even as he acknowledged that Bybee had broken both U.S. and international law in authorizing torture:

MCCAIN: He falls into the same category as everybody else as far as giving very bad advice and misinterpreting, fundamentally, what the United States is all about, much less things like the Geneva Conventions. Look, under President Reagan we signed an agreement against torture. We were in violation of that.

McCain claimed that “no one has alleged, quote, wrongdoing” on the part of Bush administration lawyers, only that they had given “bad advice.” And yet minutes later McCain himself acknowledged that Bybee’s advice led the U.S. to be “in violation” of both U.S. and international law. Watch it:

Later on Face the Nation, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who supports holding broad investigations about torture, pointed out that McCain supports a commission to investigate the causes of the financial crisis. “But just as important as losing our money, what happens when we lose our national honor? That’s what we should look at,” Leahy said.

Yesterday, the blogger dday asked Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) whether she would support a Congressional inquiry into Bybee, including the possibility of impeachment. “I’m very open to that,” Boxer said. “There is an ongoing investigation at the Justice Department into his work, and we’ll see how that goes. But I’m very open to that. And I’ll remind everyone that I didn’t vote for him when his nomination came up. I was one of 19 to do so.”

Please join our campaign calling on Congress to begin impeachment hearings against Jay Bybee.