The panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” got into a tense debate Tuesday over the release of a long-awaited Senate report examining the CIA’s treatment of detainees during the Bush administration.
Nicolle Wallace, a frequent “Morning Joe” guest and former George W. Bush spokeswoman, gave an impassioned defense of the agency’s waterboarding of three al-Qaeda suspects.
“In the history of this country, I think months after 9/11 there were three people who we thought knew about imminent attacks and we did whatever we had to do,” Wallace said. “And I pray to god that until the end of time, we do whatever we have to do to find out what’s happening.”
“The notion that somehow this makes America less great is asinine and dangerous,” she added.
Wallace then expressed frustration that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wouldn’t say whether President Barack Obama found information gleaned from those harsh interrogation techniques helpful in tracking down Osama Bin Laden.
“That’s what this is about. Does this help us kill people who want to kill us regardless of what we do,” she said. “But the notion that what we do affects terrorists is a lie. It’s a lie perpetrated by political correctness and liberals, and it’s dangerous.”
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean pushed back on that point, arguing that the problem isn’t whether the CIA waterboarded three people but rather what else the U.S. government did that American citizens don’t know about yet.
“What else did we do to make sure that 3,000 people weren’t blown out, obliterated on a New York City morning?” Wallace said. “I don’t care what we did.”