The administration's pro-waterboarding PR offensive
Today, White House spokesman Tony Fratto made clear
that this was a clear, conscious decision to make the push, and that it's an interrogation tool they definitely want to have as an option going forward:
"And so the consensus was that on this one particular technique that these officials would have the opportunity to address them â in not just a public setting, but in a setting in front of members of Congress, and to be very clear about how those techniques were used and what the benefits were of them."
Fratto said CIA interrogators could use waterboarding again, but would need the president's approval to do so. That approval would "depend on the circumstances," with one important factor being "belief that an attack might be imminent," Fratto said.
Fratto also apparently used the administration's it's not torture because "we do not torture" line. And "torture is illegal" and this was deemed legal therefore it's not torture. You can choose your favorite tautology.
I think for the first time, Fratto also flatly said that the attorney general (John Ashcroft) approved the use of waterboarding. We'll have the transcript of Fratto's remarks as soon as they're available.