CIA ‘Torture’ Denialist Pete King: McCain Had It Way Worse In Vietnam

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December 11, 2014 1:18 p.m.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Thursday doubled down on his argument that the harsh techniques detailed in a Senate report on the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation program did not amount to “torture.”

MSNBC’s Kirsten Welker asked King to respond to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) speech against torture on the Senate floor. King said that the treatment McCain underwent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam was not similar to the way the CIA treated its detainees.

“What John McCain went through was far worse than anything that the detainees went through,” he said.

That position is impossible to square with the death of one detainee held by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. The Senate report revealed that the detainee, “who had been held partially nude and chained to a concrete floor,” died from hypothermia in 2002.

Welker asked King directly whether that detainee’s death amounted to torture. King responded that several prosecutors had investigated the death and determined there was “no criminal intent.”

“It was an accident, it occurred in a brief period of time,” he said. “And it was after that, that all of the measures went into effect to protect the detainees in the future.”

King staunchly defended the CIA’s interrogation tactics after the Senate report was released. He told a New York radio station on Wednesday that neither waterboarding nor the painful stress positions to which the CIA subjected its detainees amounted to torture.

“We’re talking about people being made to stand in awkward positions, have water put into their nose and into their mouth,” he told WCBS. “Nobody suffered any lasting injuries from this.”

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