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Reply #20: Here is the link to the transcript.... [View All]

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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-20-09 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
20. Here is the link to the transcript....
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Briefing-by-... /

"Q So I understand, you're saying that people in the CIA who followed through in what they were told was legal, they should not be prosecuted. But why not the Bush administration lawyers who, in the eyes of a lot of your supporters on the left, twisted the law -- why are they not being held accountable?

MR. GIBBS: The President is focused on looking forward, that's why."


The entire exchange...

"Q Robert, on the President's visit to the CIA today -- he took the extraordinary step of releasing these documents on alleged torture last week; and people like General Hayden alleging that this makes America less safe. I know you and other administration officials obviously disagree with that point, but why run the risk of making America less safe in their eyes when you're not going to take the extra step of actually holding Bush administration officials accountable?

MR. GIBBS: Well, let's understand first of all the background of this, Ed. There was a Freedom of Information Act case that the legal team here and at other agencies were very convinced was not winnable; that there wasn't going to be a way, in any way, shape or form, to continue to hide these memos.

I said this in response to question I believe either Thursday or Friday. What makes this country -- what makes this country less safe is not the existence of enhanced interrogation techniques contained in a memo; it's that the world sees America and the values it holds up differently, because it employed those techniques.

The President -- and I think what's most important to understand is the President of the United States, in one of his very first acts as President, firmly banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in dealing with prisoners.

Q You talk about America's image around the world, the President has talked a lot about that, as well. What signal does it send the world if, potentially, people in the Bush administration -- I stress "potentially" -- broke the law? This administration is now saying, we're too busy, there's a lot on our plate, obviously, this argument is out there, but we're not going to --

MR. GIBBS: Listen, I don't --

Q -- but you said we can't look back, we're going to look forward.

MR. GIBBS: Right, but, Ed --

Q What signals does that send?

MR. GIBBS: The administration didn't say they were too busy, Ed. The administration on the second day of a very busy day in a very busy week and very busy 100 days banned the technique.

Q Right.

MR. GIBBS: Okay? I mean, let's understand --

Q But people broke the law before it. You're just turning the page.

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no -- give me a chance to answer your multitude of questions.

Q Well, but it's my real question.

MR. GIBBS: I understand, and I'm glad you've rephrased it. The President took the extraordinary step of stopping these techniques from ever being used -- again, as part of his administration. The President does believe and the Attorney General said quite clearly that those that believed in good faith that these techniques had been declared legal by the Department of Justice should not be prosecuted.

The President also believes that rather than looking backward and fighting this backward, that it's important to move our country forward. That's what he signaled by banning the use of these techniques, and that's where his focus is.

Q So I understand, you're saying that people in the CIA who followed through in what they were told was legal, they should not be prosecuted. But why not the Bush administration lawyers who, in the eyes of a lot of your supporters on the left, twisted the law -- why are they not being held accountable?

MR. GIBBS: The President is focused on looking forward, that's why.

Q A follow-up on that? You just reiterated the President's comments that he won't -- that harsh interrogation techniques won't be used. But there is a Guantanamo detainee who is currently being detained, who last week made a telephone call out of Guantanamo alleging that he is beaten almost on a daily basis and tear gas has been dumped on him -- Mohammed el Gharani..."






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