Thursday, April 02, 2009

Colin Powell gets grilled on torture questions

Rachel Maddow does a good job of trying to get at what Colin Powell knew about approvals and discussions of torture as part of the national security principals group while Secretary of State. One of her better interviews and a topic we rarely see put to such figures in this manner.

Powell essentially defaults to a position of leaving his answers to the future, when we can see what the "written record" will produce in respect of those meetings. An interesting array of excuses is offered by Powell: he was not always present, she was asking a legal question he couldn't answer, he was not the author of memos, discussions may have been had but were there conclusions drawn or decisions actually made during such meetings, was the ultimate decision made elsewhere, etc. The interview gave you a good indication of what kinds of evidentiary issues there will be when seeking such answers from other Bush administration officials if and when the time comes. So despite Powell's avoidance, the exercise was enlightening for that purpose.

Powell deflected masterfully, calmly but forcefully, to preserve himself in the event of a legal investigation of some sort. But she certainly tried and unlike many other journalists you might see in this situation, was not intimidated at all.

P.S. Best part occurs at around 6:20.