For all the many, many reasons to despise Sean Hannity, perhaps the single most important reason is his endorsement of torture and torturers as patriotic. Last night, Hannity gave the seal of approval to waterboarding, even as he continues to shirk his promise to undergo it for charity.
Hannity’s guest was Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism operations. Hannity didn’t care a fig that Rodriguez has actively tried to whitewash and cover up the CIA’s tactics. As The New York Times noted yesterday, Rodriguez instructed his staff to avoid making “judgment calls” in writing about the legality of the tactics. In 2010, The Washington Post reported that Rodriguez “authorized the destruction of CIA videotapes depicting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.” (found via Jon Perr)
No, the only question in Hannity’s mind seemed to be how he could use the torture report against Democrats.
Hannity asked Rodriguez whether Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee which released the torture report, had been “told specifically what the CIA was doing in terms of enhanced interrogations.”
There are about 40 instances where we briefed the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees over the life of the program. …We briefed Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Rockefeller and many others all the time.
…Back in 2001, I remember very clearly, them telling me you know the problem that you guys have is that you are risk averse. You need to use the authorities that we have given you to go out there and destroy this organization and to kill Bin Laden. So we feel that we briefed them and briefed them thoroughly and they are hypocritical.
Did you notice that Rodriguez never said that he told anyone specifically what the CIA did? The CIA’s deceit about its tactics happens to be one of the big issues raised in the torture report. But Hannity ignored Rodriguez’ evasiveness.
Instead, Hannity “asked” whether it wasn’t true that waterboarding led to information which “open(ed) the door” that led to the courier who led the U.S. to Bin Laden.
Torture did not lead the CIA to the courier who ultimately helped capture Osama bin Laden.
“The most accurate information on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti — facilitator whose identification and tracking led to the identification of UBL’s compound and the operation that resulted in UBL’s death — “obtained from a CIA detainee was provided by a CIA detainee who had not yet been subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques; and CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques withheld and fabricated information about Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti.” [Page 379]
Again, Rodriguez sounded less than forthright:
We gained a lot of insight from our prisoners at the black sites about the importance of the courier, which eventually led to the takedown of Bin Laden.
But Hannity responded as though he had just proved that (Republican) waterboarding led our Democratic president to Bin Laden.
HANNITY: In other words, you’re saying that the accusation that these enhanced interrogation techniques were used beyond what had already been disclosed, you’re saying is false, number one, and that in spite of their suggestion that they were not successful, you’re saying that in fact that’s not true. You were there. It was successful.
Rodriguez paused. He neither confirmed nor denied but suggested Hannity was correct.
RODRIGUEZ: It was very successful and for those of us who were there, it is just amazing that they could have come to this conclusion. Those of us who read the intelligence coming out of our black sites every morning and who acted on that intelligence know the value and basically it led to the destruction of the organization.
Hannity went on to attack President Obama for using drone strikes while condemning torture, as if two wrongs made torture a right. If he had to choose between a drone or waterboarding, Hannity said, “I think I’ll take the waterboarding.”
Really? Then maybe it’s time to finally go through with that promise he made to undergo it, more than 5 ½ years ago.
Hannity closed with an outright endorsement of Rodriguez and his methods: “It’s sad that you have to go through this, Jose, ‘cause I view you as a – and the work that you did – to save America and keep America safe as an integral part of the fact that we’ve not been attacked in a major way since. So thank you for all you’ve done. And we appreciate it.”
Watch it below.
This silver-haired fox is a horrible speaker. He will talk about one topic, and all of the sudden switch to another.
The CIA should hire Hannocchio to torture terrorists. After two grueling hours of listening to him speak, the terrorists would wave the white flag to surrender.
Hannocchio refuses to waterboard himself for our troops. The Stop Hannity Express encourages the masses, or organizations to put up a billboard, or full or half-page ads telling the masses how he didn’t fulfill his promise to waterboard himself for our troops. Include proceeds from the waterboarding would have gone to our wounded warriors.
The Town of Oyster Bay and surrounding areas needs to be targeted as well.
His late WWII father would have been ashamed of him for not fulfilling his promise to the troops. Yes, we can hear him now telling his worthless son: “I didn’t raise a coward. Stand up and be a man for God’s sake.”
Hannocchio is an embarrassment to the family name, his children, nieces and nephews, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Irish people are fighters, not cowards like Hannocchio.
BAWK, BAWK, BAWK, BAWK, BAWK, BAWK!