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So About That Waterboarding

About two months ago, I interviewed Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), one of the rising stars on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about a host of Justice Department-related controversies: the U.S. attorney firings, warrantless surveillance, and the inability of newly-minted Attorney General Michael Mukasey to say waterboarding is torture. That last issue has a special association for Whitehouse. Mukasey’s confirmation nearly ran off the rails after Whitehouse pressed the then-nominee on the torture question, eliciting a euphemistic and evasive answer. In our talk, Whitehouse pledged that the committee wouldn’t relent, and would have Mukasey up to the Hill every month, if necessary, until the AG gave a yes-or-no answer.

Well, today is the day, as they say. Mukasey is giving his first round of Senate testimony as attorney general. He’s been famously uncertain on the waterboarding-as-torture question. Expect Whitehouse to pin him down as best he can.

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