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Panetta Hearing: You Don’t Need to Torture in the ‘Ticking Bomb’ Case

CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta took on a right-wing myth head on, saying that even in the hypothetical “ticking bomb case” — OMG there’s a bomb hidden in Times Square that this detainee knows about we better waterboard him or everyone will die GET ME JACK BAUER — you shouldn’t torture anyone.

“We don’t have to choose between our safety and our ideals,” Panetta said. If there ever is a ticking time bomb — and the scenario pretty much doesn’t exist in the real world, since it presumes too much and therefore isn’t a genuine case — Panetta said he’d urge “everything possible within the law to get that information … If you talk to [FBI Director] Bob Mueller, talk to [Sen.] John McCain, talk to Gen. [David] Petraeus, they believe that information can be obtained without resulting to extraordinary measures.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) tries to get Panetta to carve out a loophole. Panetta doesn’t bite. “No one is above the law,” Panetta says.

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