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Kiriakou writes: "Carly Fiorina has to be the most completely clueless Republican running for president, at least when it comes to intelligence policy."

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina rejects the conclusions of a Senate report on waterboarding. (photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina rejects the conclusions of a Senate report on waterboarding. (photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Carly Fiorina Just Doesn't "Get It" on Torture

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

06 October 15


arly Fiorina has to be the most completely clueless Republican running for president, at least when it comes to intelligence policy. Fiorina disingenuously told Yahoo News last week that waterboarding and other CIA torture techniques “kept our country safe” in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

She went on to justify these violations of U.S. and international law by saying, “I believe that all of the evidence is very clear – that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases and was supervised by medical personnel … and I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary.”

There are so many things wrong with this asinine statement that I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best place is the beginning.

Fiorina ignores the Senate Torture Report, which found that waterboarding and other torture techniques did not result in the collection of any actionable intelligence and did not save any American lives. Maybe Fiorina didn’t believe the report because Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats were the only ones who voted to approve it (despite the fact that Committee investigators used primary-source CIA documents to write it.)

In that case, she could have looked at the CIA Inspector General’s Report on torture, which was released in 2009 and which found not only that torture didn’t work, and that no lives were saved by using it, but that the CIA had lied even to its own officers when it said that waterboarding was used sparingly. In fact, Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, and Khalid Shaikh Muhammad was waterboarded 147 times. That’s a lot of torture for no information.

Fiorina also could have read reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, all of which said that between 2005 and 2007 the CIA was torturing its prisoners and that there was no information to indicate that torture worked.

Maybe Fiorina was too busy trying to convince people that she had been a successful CEO at Hewlett-Packard to have read the news that the American Psychological Association recently voted to prohibit its 80,000 members from participating in any national security interrogations, even indirectly. Why? Because the CIA’s entire detention, rendition, and interrogation program was immoral, unethical, and illegal.

Maybe Fiorina was too busy running Hewlett-Packard into the ground to have read the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory and for which it was a driving force. It says very clearly that torture is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of committing, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

Maybe Fiorina was too busy selling printers to Iran in violation of U.S. and international sanctions, and then lying about it when she said first that she was “unaware” that the company she headed was illegally supplying an “enemy” country with computer peripherals, and then that she had been exonerated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (There was no such exoneration.)

Regardless of the reasons for Fiorina’s ill-informed and poorly-conceived position on torture, the fact that she doesn’t seem to know or care about the very basics – that torture is illegal, that it didn’t work, and that it didn’t save lives – makes her unfit to lead the country and to set the policy on this abomination.

I like to think that most Americans understand and appreciate the immorality that was the torture program, and that they now realize that the George W. Bush Justice Department’s bastardization of the laws prohibiting torture was wrong, and that we should never go back to those dark days. Indeed, thanks to the McCain-Feinstein Amendment, passed last summer, torture is finally illegal in this country.

But Carly Fiorina just doesn’t get it. And she thinks she’s too smart to take advice from anybody else. That makes her unfit to be president.

John Kiriakou is an Associate Fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer and former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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