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Is Fox News Ignoring John McCain's Statements On Torture And The Death Of Bin Laden?

Reported by Ellen - May 13, 2011 -

You can barely turn on Fox News lately without hearing about the importance of waterboarding and "enhanced interrogations" to our national security. That is until the invitation of rapper Common to the White House became the nation's most important issue. But before that, on The O'Reilly Factor, contributor Dennis Miller said it was immoral NOT TO waterboard - with O'Reilly's evident approval. Plus, there was Donald Rumsfeld saying on the air it was a good thing Osama Bin Laden was killed because the Obama administration's prohibition against "enhanced interrogations" "would be unlikely to produce much intelligence from Osama Bin Laden." But yeserday, Sen. John McCain - a man with personal and professional authority on the issue - spoke out against the process and its use in the hunt for Bin Laden and I didn't hear a peep about it on the "fair and balanced" network.

In a Washington Post op ed, McCain flatly stated that he believes waterboarding is torture "prohibited by American laws and values." He went on to say,

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.

...In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.

I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.

The entire piece is powerful, persuasive and very much worth a read.

McCain also took to the U.S. Senate floor where he stated,

Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. I believe the abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. ...And what the advocates of cruel and harsh interrogation techniques can never prove is that we could not have gathered the same intelligence through other, more humane means – as a review of the facts provides solid reason to be confident that we can. The costs of assuming otherwise can be hugely detrimental.

...It is also the case that the mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops who might someday be held captive. While some enemies, and Al-Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more conventional enemies, if not in this war then in the next. Until about 1970, North Vietnam ignored its obligations not to mistreat the Americans they held prisoner, claiming that we were engaged in an unlawful war against them and thus not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. But when their abuses became widely known and incited unfavorable international attention, they substantially decreased their mistreatment of our POWs.

If you thought that would be big news on "We report, you decide" Fox, you'd be wrong. Unless I blinked and missed it, there was nothing about it on either The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity or On The Record last night. Just now, searching "McCain" on the Fox Nation home page yielded no results (look at the box in the upper right of the screen grab below).

It's enough to make you think that Fox News wasn't interested in hearing or reporting information that directly contradicted information they've been promoting for over a week.