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HOLDER HEARING: Holder: Waterboarding Is Torture

And we’re off!

What a start. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) opened up with a question on waterboarding and whether or not Holder considers it to be torture, to which Eric Holder answered in the affirmative.

“If you look at the history of this technique, used by the Khmer Rouge, used in the inquisition, used by the Japanese and prosecuted by us as war crimes, we prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam,” Holder said. “I agree with you Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture.”

Such a straight forward answer is definitely refreshing in these hearings, after years of Bush administration officials hedging and talking around the issues.

If there’s any doubt on how Holder feels about the increased power of the executive branch under President George W. Bush, Holder laid that to rest, as well.

“The president acts most forcefully and has his greatest power when he acts in a manor that’s consistent with the congressional intentions and directives.”

Leahy just brought up President Bill Cinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich — the “best defense is a good offense” approach. Stay tuned.

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