The biggest piece of news from this exchange? Liz Cheney’s assertion that (only) two of the three detainees who were waterboarded (speaking of Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) provided valuable intelligence. Or, to put it another way, Rahim al-Nashiri did not provide valuable intelligence.
Shorter Liz Cheney: "In addition to frivolous waterboarding number 83 for Abu Zubaydah my Daddy ordered up, he also ordered Rahim al-Nashiri to be frivolously waterboarded. And I’m proud of my Daddy’s torture because torturing someone 83 times for 10 pieces of intelligence is very effective."
Here’s the, um, transcript. At least this is what I heard…
Norah: Was your Daddy the "prime mover" of this process?
MiniCheney: I won’t answer the question. Instead let’s talk about why Eric Holder didn’t read the "Effectiveness Memo" created as a prop for the Bradbury torture memos to refute the IG Report’s conclusion that the torture program wasn’t effective.
Norah: We”ll get to whether torture justifies the ends in this program.
MiniCheney: Norah, just because everyone knows this is torture doesn’t make it so. We have a SERE program so people are exposed to how false confessions are created. And we took that SERE program and exceeded the guidelines on the SERE program. But that’s not torture at all, not at all. In fact, it’s a very effective means to generate false confessions.
Norah: MiniCheney, the CIA on its own stopped waterboarding. The US prosecuted people for waterboarding.
Norah: Dennis Blair said we don’t know whether the information could have been obtained by other means. The damage that is done has far outweighed what we got.
MiniCheney: Blair said we got understanding, but I’m going to call that very important. The White House censors, I just make shit up.
Norah: Why doesn’t your Daddy own up that he was the prime mover in this?
MiniCheney: Once again, I won’t say whether or not Daddy was the prime mover. But he didn’t direct any lawyers. And besides, did you know that OLC included limits on this torture that those who developed this program, like my Daddy, had no intention of following? That proves that this is not torture. But I won’t answer questions about whether my Daddy was the prime mover of this program.
Norah: Let me show what the memos actually say.
MiniCheney: Eeeeek!!!! Not the memos!! I’m melting!!!!
Norah: Your Daddy and Condi were in these meetings. But Powell and Rummy weren’t. Why won’t you say your Daddy was the prime mover of this program?
MiniCheney: I’m going to blame Powell anyway.
MiniCheney: The lawyers’ opinions were sought to make sure that the program that the NSA … wait a second. Are we talking about Daddy’s illegal wiretap program or Daddy’s illegal torture program? Oh yeah! … Torture! CIA!! to make sure the CIA stayed within the law.
Norah; Listen to you!!! "How far we can go"?!?!?
MiniCheney: That’s right! Isn’t that cool?!
Norah: This is an important point.
MiniCheney: Yes, little girl, it’s a very very important point. Now now. But don’t you know? We Cheneys control the agenda on NBC. So I’m not going to let you make that point.
Norah: Geneva Convention. America. Beacon in the world.
MiniCheney: [Glaring condescendingly at such childish foolishness]
MiniCheney: I get your point Norah, now shut up. We used a program of false confessions, and therefore this is not torture, it’s a program to create false confessions.
MiniCheney: This argument about the Geneva Conventions is all very emotional and girlie, Norah.
MiniCheney: And I think it’s important for the American people to hear only our argument laid out.