Rove: U.S. Interrogation Techniques Not Torture but ‘Carefully Designed’

Speaking with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, former Bush advisor Karl Rove defended the interrogation techniques used by the United States against terrorists to gain information saying they can’t be considered torture because they were “carefully designed” not to be.

Wallace set up Rove to provide an answer to the Senate report findings which noted “‘a series of near drownings,’ sleep deprivation, and unnecessary ‘rectal feeding.'” He asked, “Carl, isn’t that torture by any definition?”

Rove denied that accusation and took issue with the rectal feedings. As he pointed out, there are nine references on 14 pages that address rectal feeding. He explained that four out of the five instances mentioned were to counter a detainees self-imposed hunger strike. Rove added, “The one that there’s no reference in this report to is KSM — Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11 — and there was no attempt to ask his interrogators at the time whether they used the procedure then because he too was on a hunger strike.”

Wallace asked for clarification on other techniques used: waterboarding, confinement, slapping, smashing against walls, etc. Rove replied:

Look, these were carefully designed with an idea, with the principles in mind of our statutory obligations and international commitments. The principal tests were, do they involve pain or suffering, or do they involve severe and prolonged mental pain or suffering. In each instance, these procedures were carefully designed so they would not pass those barriers. 

Rove then compared and contrasted the waterboarding technique used by the U.S. versus the style the Japanese used in World War II, in which water was poured straight into the mouths of captives. The U.S. technique, as Rove described, involved elevating the feet to prohibit fluid from entering the lungs. These “very careful standards” ensured that the life of the detainee was not put in danger yet remained potent enough to “break the resistance,” Rove said.


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