“We found that those memos involve a thorough, well-reasoned, praiseworthy legal effort and analysis. We agree that their conclusions as to the legality of waterboarding and the other CIA enhanced interrogation techniques are correct under applicable law, and we are prepared to debate that point in any forum. A complete report containing our analysis is on our website, The Interrogation Memos.
“… The most controversial of these techniques, waterboarding, was used on just three of the highest-level detainees, all accused senior terrorist leaders involved in major attacks on Americans and U.S. targets and had information regarding planned future attacks. … It resulted in information that stopped at least two planned terrorist attacks on American soil that would have killed thousands of Americans.”
In a recent interview with NBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer excerpted on al-JazeeraEnglish, Mr. Bush defended his actions:
“One of the high value al-Qaeda operatives was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And they said, ‘he’s got information.’ And I said, ‘Find out what he knows.’ And so I said to our team, ‘Are the techniques legal?’ and a legal team says, ‘yes they are.’ And I said, “Use ’em.”
Following a statement by an unnamed British legal expert who defines waterboarding as torture, al-JazeeraEnglish correspondent Laurence Lee says: “Bush, though, seems unrepentant as ever.”
Bush: “I will tell you this. Using those techniques saved lives. My job was to protect America. And I did.”
Given the absence of any major terror incident in the United States in the seven years of the Bush Administration following 9/11, it would be hard even for the ACLU to argue with that.