Yoo: If U.S. Troops Were Waterboarded,’It Would Depend On The Circumstances’ To Constitute Torture
Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) gets to ask a question: “Is it true the United States is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture?” Yoo concedes it is, and that there’s a whole federal statute to implement the convention. But are there certain things — say, electric shocks — that the August 1, 2002 memo would say violates? “Yes.” What about waterboarding?
Yoo: “I’d have to know what you mean by waterboarding, but there is an appendix in 2002 memo that talks about, you know, drowning someone. But it seems like when people say waterboarding that they mean all sorts of different things.” Delahunt references the three detainees who were waterboarded. “I’ve read the same press accounts as you,” Yoo says, “and there was a declaration by the president or the head of the CIA.” Addington says he discussed interrogation with the CIA — but waterboarding? “I think you’ll find over the years, as lawyers discuss this… I’m not in a position to discuss particular techniques,” Addington says, because “al-Qaeda may be watching C-SPAN.”
Delahunt can’t resist. “I’m sure they’re happy to see you, Mr. Addington.” Wokka wokka.
OK, does CIA waterboarding violate the CAT? Yoo: “One of the problems is the Convention Against Torture is interpreted different ways by different countries. … Our understanding of the treaty is that it is defined by the statute.” If they were used on U.S. troops, would it be torture? “My understanding of testimony the head of OLC gave before this committee, if we were using it as training on our servicemen if they were captured, it would not be.” But if used by an enemy on our troops, they wouldn’t be in violation of the Convention? “I don’t remember whether Mr. Bradbury went that far and reached that conclusion.” Nadler wants Yoo to give his opinion. “My view now is that it would depend on the circumstances.” God bless that moral clarity.