October 30th, 2007
05:32 PM ET
2 years ago

Mukasey: Waterboarding 'repugnant,' no legal opinion

Mukasey says he personally finds waterboarding 'repugnant.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush's pick for attorney general, Judge Michael Mukasey, called the interrogation technique known as "waterboarding" a "repugnant" practice Tuesday, but again refused to say whether it violates U.S. laws banning torture.

As he did in his Oct. 18 confirmation hearing, Mukasey told Senate Judiciary Committee members that he has not received classified briefings on what techniques American interrogators are allowed to use and cannot make a legal judgment.

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Filed under: Michael Mukasey
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Bob, Seattle, WA

    Don't become a terror suspect, tell the government the truth and you won't have to worry about it. When there are 'imminent danger' threatening the lives of American citizens, I want to find out what is going on ASAP.

    October 30, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. TheInsider

    And congress should grant no opinion on him until he comes clean...

    October 30, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Phil Chicago, Ill

    Have IQs in Congress just fallen below their approval rating??

    If US Law (in 2006) specifically banned waterboarding – and Mukasey says he will not violate US laws or the Constitution... WHY are they specifically attempting to pigeon-whole the AG candidate?

    Hypotheticals are never black and white. What if they didn't dunk the suspected terrorist but poured 1 cup of water over his head? What about 2 cups of water??

    At what point does this line of questioning by Congress become acceptable?? I guess Americans should expect side-show antics from the circus called Congress.

    October 30, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Ethan, Brooklyn, NY

    Ha ha ha. What a joke. It's "repugnant" but legal. Typical Bush toady. Deny this guy. Next!

    October 30, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. David, Dallas Tx

    Have IQs in Congress just fallen below their approval rating??

    If US Law (in 2006) specifically banned waterboarding – and Mukasey says he will not violate US laws or the Constitution… WHY are they specifically attempting to pigeon-whole the AG candidate?

    A better question: if Congress outlawed waterboarding in 2006 and Mukasey claims he wouldn't violate the law, why is he unwilling to connect the dots and specifically say he wouldn't allow waterboarding?

    Kind of looks like he's avoiding committing himself just in case Congress or the courts should overturn that law someday.

    Do we want an AG who keeps his torture options open?

    October 30, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "If US Law (in 2006) specifically banned waterboarding – and Mukasey says he will not violate US laws or the Constitution… WHY are they specifically attempting to pigeon-whole the AG candidate?"

    If the coward can't call torture torture, then he's useless. He has no business in government.

    Maybe he can get a job with Blackwater.

    October 30, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "...Don't become a terror suspect,..."

    Um, what if the government MAKES you a suspect, but you're innocent?

    You sound even slower than usual, Bob.

    October 30, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "At what point does this line of questioning by Congress become acceptable??"

    When it's NOT USED?

    "I guess Americans should expect side-show antics from the circus called Congress."

    I guess Americans should expect more hatred from fascists like Phil. And if you don't think President Clown and V.P. "Traitor Boy" Cheney as a circus, you've never been to one, Phil.

    October 30, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Scott-Denver Co

    I bet if Bush or Cheney were waterboarded they would confess to the 9/11 attacks. To think that you get credible information from torchering is ridiculous. Seriously, anyone of you would rat out your own mother if you were torchered.

    October 30, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I'll tell you what, if the Senate can waterboard Mukasey, I am in favor of confirming him. As for Bob from Seattle Washington, this is America and we are supposed to protect civil liberties no matter what. To quote Ben Frankin, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    October 30, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Daniel, NY

    Before everyone starts praising Obama and Clinton for opposing him, don't forget that it is Dodd who made it happen and who led the opposition to Mukasey.

    October 30, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. David, Dallas Tx

    Don't become a terror suspect, tell the government the truth and you won't have to worry about it. When there are 'imminent danger' threatening the lives of American citizens, I want to find out what is going on ASAP.

    You act like torture is a quick way to get reliable information. It isn't; just ask McCain.

    Information gleaned under torture which isn't confirmed by additional sources is useless. Heck, information gleaned through non-torture means is often useless without additional confirmation. Just look at the Iraq war.

    Which brings up my final point. When our nation engages in torture, it no longer belongs with nations like Brittain, Sweden, and Canada and falls to the likes of Egypt, Syria, and Pakistan in world opinion. That fall has real consequences; again, look at how little help we have in Iraq.

    Not since the 1700's has the US been as alone as it is now. There are no reasons for that outside of war and torture. We're no longer counted among the world's civilized nations.

    October 30, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Marie

    Bob in Seattle,
    It's nice that you want America to become like the terrorists we're fighting against. I guess if we want to become a country where anything goes, than the terrorist have already won. There are still many Americans who think spying on other Americans is wrong, that torture is wrong, that giving immunity to men who killed innocent Iraqi citizens is wrong, that lying to start a war is wrong, and we can't wait for this administration to be gone. Bring back the rule of law, and bring back the integrity of America. We were always better than this, and we were always above torture, it's what made us a great nation. It's to bad people like you want to bring us down.

    October 30, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. Arkay, Detrot, MI

    Bob from Seattle, WA,

    How naive can you be? What is the guarantee that you will not become a 'terror suspect' if you tell the truth. You will be a suspect till you tell the interrogator what he wants to hear. If you don't you will be 'waterboarded'

    October 30, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. dukesjames griffin ga.

    why would any-one want this guy as a attorney general? there is no reason to seek a attorney general at this present time meaning this the courts are not doing anything at all except stuff that does not matter as to the current problems with the justice dept. why not keep the voices active and hopefully force the supreme court to render some decisions rather than say to the president–sir you can not do this or that so try again we will give you six more months to come up with something else. there is no need for a new attorney general to step in and start his own thing at this time what 15 months left-no; force the supreme court to do its job and control this administration by rendering decisions on the issues involved in this insanity of george bush. this guy is worthless. also if cnn does not print this stuff then cnn should not accept stuff from any-one because we all of know that reporters-news types will steal ideas stories and put thier names on them so if you do not want to print a person's comment then say so & go to hell.

    October 30, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. john williams san diego, ca.

    by saying 'water boarding' is torture, he would be calling the great lifesaver ted kennedy(D-MASS) a torturer...go ahead and say it..every one over 60 knows that the big balloon is a murderer

    October 30, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Noah, California

    Bob in Seattle–that's easy for you to say.

    Consider this scenario: You, meaning you, Bob in Seattle, are captured in a big government mix up and sent to a secret prison, where they decide to waterboard you. You tell them the truth, but the "truth" isn't what they want to hear. They keep waterboarding you because they say that the United States is in imminent danger, and they're just positive that you're a terror suspect. Sounds like you've got yourself into a bit of a pickle.

    Still for waterboarding?

    October 30, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. MIKE ADKINS,CHARLOTTE,NC

    torture of any kind is unreliable and counterproductive. acting in the same manner as terrorists makes us terrorists as well. is everyone connected with the bush administation mentally challenged? how about terrorists who don't cooperate receive a sex change operation and get released in a nice new burka? about one or two times, the rest will be most helpful.

    October 30, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Ray Murphy, Oroville, CA

    The better question is: If waterboarding is specifically banned by law, why can't he respond, of course it is illegal, it is specifically banned by law?

    October 30, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Maria Soledad Cervantes, Mexico City, Mexico

    A more violent version of "water-boarding" began to be used by US rulers in the Phillipinnes after the US-Spain war. Obviously there is an alarming portion of USAmerican legislation which has been gradually, for at least the last 25 years, divorced from respect for human rights and ethics. I agree with Mr. Kucinich that something must be wrong with Bush's mind for him to pretend Congress grants him the means to maintain his wars. Also, included in (Bush's brazen request to Congress in recent days for around $40 billion dollars, is a "Plan Mexico" allegedly to combat drug traffic in Mexico, but effectively to appropriate what remains of Mexican territory and resources to sustain "freedom" efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. If not his mental health, Bush's integrity should at least be questioned. Thank you.

    October 30, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. Sean metamora,IL

    Don't become a terror suspect, tell the government the truth and you won't have to worry about it. When there are 'imminent danger' threatening the lives of American citizens, I want to find out what is going on ASAP.

    so, how does one avoid becoming as "suspect" when did it stop being "land of the free, home of the brave"
    and turn into "let the government do whatever they want to protect me from the big bad boogieman"

    October 30, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. bob rawlings alton illinois

    mr. mukasey says waterboarding is repugnat. blacl bag him take him to gitmo for some of the delightful intertainment. i'm sure he would know real soon if it's tortuture or not. do the same with quick draw cheney.

    October 30, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. Phil Greene, Houston Texas

    Water Boarding is Torture.

    October 30, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. David, Washington, DC

    So, Bob from Seattle, in your 'imminent danger' hypothetical, what if your suspect lies to you just to stop the torture and the bomb still goes off? Then was it worth it to sink to such a woeful moral low?

    And what if you could have found the bomb but you wasted too much time following the false lead given to you by your torture victim? Then are you glad that you committed this egregious act?

    Have you seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib? They are real. Jack Bauer is not.

    October 30, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. mark miami florida

    About time.....

    October 30, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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