Hannity’s Two-Week Silence: Is He Ready To Admit Waterboarding Is Torture?

On April 22, Fox News’ Sean Hannity volunteered to be waterboarded after ardently defending the practice and excoriating President Obama for ending the technique. “Clearly this president has not done his homework, and it is putting each and every American at risk,” Hannity said about ending torture. Declaring he is “for enhanced interrogation,” Hannity said he would happily consent to being waterboarded as a fundraiser “for the troops’ families.”

However, two weeks later, Hannity has yet to mention the promise again — despite the offer from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to help Hannity raise funds by donating $1,000 for every second Hannity is waterboarded.

As Olbermann has explained, the point would not be to watch Hannity suffer. Rather, it would be to prove to him — and perhaps his viewers — that waterboarding is in fact “cruel, inhuman” torture — that it is what an adviser on terrorism to the departments of Homeland Security, Special Operations, and Intelligence called “slow-motion suffocation.”

Indeed, the 2005 torture memo written by Steven Bradbury required the CIA to have a tracheotomy kit on hand to revive a detainee who had effectively drowned:


[A] detainee could suffer spasms of the larynx that would prevent him from breathing even when the application of water is stopped and the detainee is returned to an upright position. In the event of such spasms, a qualified physician would immediately intervene to address the problem, and, if necessary, the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy. …we are informed that the necessary emergency medical equipment is always present — although not visible to the detainee — during any application of the waterboard.

A footnote to the memo warns, “for reasons of physical fatigue or psychological resignation, the subject may simply give up, allowing excessive filling of the airways,” and “aggressive medical intervention” may be required to restore breathing. And yet Hannity continues to insist, “It’s not drowning.”