Froomkin: Put Up or Shut Up

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February 12, 2008 4:12 p.m.

So has a ticking time bomb ever been defused as a result of Bush Administration torture policies?

Writing today on the “Return of the 9/11 President,” Dan Froomkin notes that the President is still making the argument that torture has saved lives:

Then, however, Bush made an unsupported claim, and issued a challenge that the media and his critics should pick up with vigor: “The American people have got to know that what we did in the past gained information that prevented an attack. And for those who criticize what we did in the past, I ask them, which attack would they rather have not permitted — stopped? Which attack on America did they — would they have said, well, you know, maybe it wasn’t all that important that we stop those attacks.”

But if the American people have “got to know” that torture gained information that prevented an attack, Bush needs to start making a better case. As I’ve written repeatedly, he has yet to offer any evidence that intelligence produced by torture thwarted a single plot or saved a single life.

The media should demand that he back it up or take it back.

Whatever you might think of the ticking time bomb rationale (the combination of its dubious moral and legal justifications combined with its real-world rarity lends it little weight for me personally), but you’d think that at some point its adherents would have to put up or shut up.

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