Melissa Harris-Perry | February 09, 2013
>>> in 2008 , john brennan had to withdraw his name from consideration for the cia director over concerns for his support over the use of torture under the bush administration , and since then the senate intelligence committee has produced a come pre hprehensive report on torture, and that has left us with some of the most controversial counter terrorism policies by brennan .
>> in 2007 , there was valuable information coming from the interrogation sessions, and i will tell you they did save lives, but senator, read ing ting the report from the committee raises concern about the information i was give taent time and the impression i had at that time, and now based on that information as well as what the cia says and what the truth is, and at this point, senator, i do not know what the truth is.
>> what, whoa? i don't know what the truth is. it is --
>> well, it is really -- it is a joke that he did not know.
>> it is shocking, because he is one of the top three or four officials in the cia through the bush administration and if he does not know, who does know? what is going on here?
>> and who should therefore be creating the kill list determining imminence.
>> well, we know from long experience that torture is not the best means to get information out of people, and people will lie and tell you what they think that you want to hear and same with police beating suspects and getting the confessions out of them, and smart interrogators will get the truth out of people, and it takes time, but they succeed.
>> there is something about the stomach-turning recognition that american citizens had that we were engaging in torture so-called enhanced interrogation tech neegs that shifted the culture in this country, and there was a change of 2004 or 2005 when we started to say, no, this is not who we are, and the sense that what happened that went underground that we did not change and that is distressing for americans as we look at, if you can change an entire administration and still end up with the same policies.
>> that is why obama actually was so popular in the world, because he stood up for these issues before anybody else in washington, and he is the one who came out of the world saying that the rule of law, accountability, transparency, and we are against torture and now he is the same guy appointing brennan , a guy that, you know, sit there and tells you lying to your face that telling you i did not know and he was cc'd on 50 or more e-mails about these issues. i mean, this is something that will actually backlash against america, because if we stand in the world on something is our principles and values.
>> one thing i should say though is that this administration other than mr. brennan has been forthright on the issue of terrorism. he declined to define waterboarding as terrorism in the hearings. the administration has been very clear. leon panetta when he was head of the cia was clear that it is torture and the u.s. does not engage in torture. while there is a continuation of policies related to drones and targeted assassinations, i don't think that there is necessarily a continuation of or ttorture.
>> well, the debate we are not having is what are the contours of this, and if we want to win hearts and minds to go back to a vietnam plauz, what are thrase, what are t he on the contours of this? will it expand and come back to hit us in a strong way?
>> as someone who knows the pro and con intell and we send people into the area to make people suspicious of each other, and killed people in a domestic sphere, aed on the know the ugliness and the nastiness of that and the ways in which have sat over and against any american notice that we are not the kind of country that does that, but to get on the other side of co-intel to say i need that to be reflected in the 21st history.
>> and to that, brennan was the architect of the waterboarding program or in the testimony he said he was aware of at least 50 memos that it was going on, and he did not speak up at the time. so if the obama administration has walked back for waterboarding , the reward of knowing about it is the director cia .
>> well, he said he did speak up about it, but didn't push it.
>> he said privately, but never publicly. there is another aspect of this, and look at the kun are tcountries that we are demanding to reform and become more democratic. after the arab spring we recognized we used some torture, a imam kidnapped and taken to egypt and tortured. we asked the countries in 2011 after the arab spring to be more d democratic and not police state anymore and now we are putting brennan and this is a guy negotiating with the egyptian secret service , and the pakistanis and what is he going to tell them where the policy and hillary clinton is saying, we want democratic states and build citizens and he is going there with another hand saying, we want something else.
>> this is a fun dadamental tough question to keep working on and undoubtedly the light of the day that helps us to become better americans