Current TV host Keith Olbermann believes that General David Patraeus has disqualified himself from heading the CIA by the answer he gave to a question about enhanced interrogation methods during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
As reported by CBS news, Petraeus initially “reiterated his support for adhering to the interrogation methods listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual. Mr. Obama in 2009 signed an executive order banning the use of any interrogation method, such as waterboarding, not listed in the field manual.”
However, Petraeus then went on to suggest that consideration should be given to making an exemption for the hypothetical situation known as the “ticking time bomb” scenario, saying that torture might be justified if “you have the individual in your hands who you know has placed a nuclear device under the Empire State Building. It goes off in 30 minutes, he has the codes to turn it off.”
Olbermann began his special comment by saying that with these remarks, Petraeus had “declared himself unfit to serve as head of Central Intelligence. … Torture serves no purpose except to satiate sadism or revenge fantasies. As an interrogation tool it is useless, for the simple and unanswerable reason that people will tell you anything, true or not, to get you to stop. A civilian who does not understand this is merely foolish, uninformed or stupid. A military man or a government official who does not understand this is a positive menace to the endurance of the nation.”
After poking various holes in the plausibility of the ticking time-bomb scenario, Olbermann concluded, “This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. And it’s coming from a man we’re going to put in charge of the CIA.”
“Mr. President, you have to withdraw David Petraeus’s nomination as CIA chief,” Olbermann pleaded. “He just made a fool of himself to a degree and in a manner from which there is no possible return. If confirmed, he will do the same to you … because [the CIA’s] chief is so naive he thinks you can torture the truth out of a suicide bomber as his bomb is about to go off.”
This video is from Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Current TV, June 24, 2011.