It was like déjà vu all over again.
Just like they did during Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s Senate confirmation hearings, today lawmakers again pushed the federal government’s top lawyer to say, once and for all, whether waterboarding – the interrogation technique where subjects are strapped down and doused with water so that they feel like they are drowning – is illegal.
But the monotonic Justice Department chief suck to his guns, refusing to give an opinion on the legality of the interrogation procedure because, he said, it is not currently used by the CIA.
“Given that waterboarding is not part of the current program, and may never be added to the program, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to pass definitive judgment on the technique’s legality,” Mukasey said.
That answer did not sit well with some committee Democrats.
“It’s like you’re opposed to stealing but not quite sure that bank robbery would qualify,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been very vocal on this matter.
“I think failure to say something probably puts some of our people in more danger than not,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee’s chairman.