In an NPR All Things Considered news analysis segment, Daniel Schorr discussed the US Senate Armed Services Committee’s (SASC) questioning of William Haynes II, former General Counsel to the Defense Department.
SASC called the hearing to investigate the “origins of aggressive interrogation techniques.” Like other commentators, Daniel Schorr expressed his dismay at Haynes’ repeated insistence that he could not recall anything about the approval process for adapting SERE training techniques for use in US interrogations of terror suspects. As reported in the Washington Post, the line of questioning went like this:
Did he ask a subordinate to get information about harsh questioning techniques?
“My memory is not perfect.”
Did he see a memo about the effects of these techniques?
“I don’t specifically remember when I saw this.”
Did he remember doing something with the information he got?
“I don’t remember doing something with this information.”
When did he discuss these methods with other Bush administration officials?
“I don’t know precisely when, and I cannot discuss it further without getting into classified information.”
Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) had had enough. “You say you don’t remember it any more clearly than what you’ve said,” he pointed out. “Therefore, going into classified session isn’t going to give us any more information than what you’ve said, which is you had conversations but your memory is bad.”
“Correct,” Haynes agreed.
Daniel Schorr countered, however, that
There is other evidence about brutal treatment of detainees.
The Physicians for Human Rights organization is out with a report that examination of 11 former detainees in US military jails reveals scars and other injuries consistent with their accounts of beatings, electric shocks and other forms of abuse.
You can listen to Daniel Schorr’s full commentary here.