Rohrabacher on Torture: "Just hazing"

Categories: Politics

PhotobucketThe House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight held a hearing on detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba yesterday. The meeting focused on a recent FBI report documenting abusive interrogation tactics toward prisoners at the facility.

Present at the hearing was our treasured local representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who seemed to note nothing wrong with the documented abuse. During the questioning of FBI Inspector General Glenn Fine at the hearing, the congressman insisted the report showed nothing more than “fraternity boy pranks and hazing." Hardly torture.

Surely, Rohrabacher was reminiscing about the good 'ol days when his buddies at the frat house water board each other at their keg parties when he said:

"They seem like more like pranks, hazing pranks from some fraternity than some well-thought-out policy of how do you torture someone and get information from them. […]

"I will have to tell you, when most people hear the word “torture,” which has been bandied around here, I don’t believe that they think of it as holding a growling dog near somebody but not the growling dog — you know, it’s one thing to have the growling dog eating someone’s leg or arm versus — which is absolute torture. It’s another thing to have a growling dog around, or putting panties on someone’s head, or discussing — telling him he had repressed homosexual tendencies in his presence. I mean, I’m sorry, these are acts of humiliation."

Read more of the transcript after the jump.

Rohrbacher: "You’re suggesting that the behavior of, what, panties on his head in order to try to, you know, confuse him and to pressure him, that is unacceptable interrogation technique for a man who was involved in a conspiracy to kill tens of thousands of Americans?"

Fine: "What we are saying is what were reported by the FBI, a number of concerns about that, not simply putting panties on his head, but the course of interrogation was both abusive and, in their view, ineffective."

[…]

Rohrbacher: "We were humiliating him. There was humiliating tactics on the part of the interrogator, right?"

Fine: "They were what the FBI and others considered abusive tactics that were ineffective."

[…]

Rohrbacher: "Because many of the things that you are suggesting here were just so unacceptable by this man who was conspiring to kill tens of thousands of American civilians, they seem like more like pranks, hazing pranks from some fraternity than some well-thought-out policy of how do you torture someone and get information from them.

"I mean, OK, telling — describing his mother and sister as whores, that’s certainly not a nice thing to do.

"I will have to tell you, when most people hear the word “torture,” which has been bandied around here, I don’t believe that they think of it as holding a growling dog near somebody but not the growling dog — you know, it’s one thing to have the growling dog eating someone’s leg or arm versus — which is absolute torture. It’s another thing to have a growling dog around, or putting panties on someone’s head, or discussing — telling him he had repressed homosexual tendencies in his presence.

"I mean, I’m sorry, these are acts of humiliation."

[…]

"OK. So when we’re talking about this position that the FBI, this moral stand that the FBI took on this, it was basically to say that a man who might have information that could lead us to prevent an attack that would cost the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, that we should not — we should never think that it was acceptable to put panties on his head or try to humiliate him verbally in order to break his will? That’s not an acceptable interrogation even if it’s going to save the lives of all these other people in the end?"

Fine: "Congressman Rohrabacher, what the FBI said that they objected to, for a variety of reasons, one, it was not effective in obtaining intelligence. The FBI had a longstanding ability and skills in obtaining intelligence from people who didn’t want to give it to them, whether it was domestic or Al Qaida."

[…]

Rohrbacher: "Right. Except — except when it came down to putting panties on the head of some guy who was actually engaged in the conspiracy to kill all these Americans, the FBI again decided that they were holier than thou."

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