Holder’s Sly Rebuke to Cornyn: No Torture, Not Even In the Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario
By | May 13, 2009 5:11 pm

At today’s NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund luncheon, Gwen Ifill asked Attorney General Eric Holder some probing questions, reports the BLT. 

On the issue of prosecutions of high-level Bush adminstration officials, he simply responded: “We’ll go wherever the facts and the law take us.”  But when the debate about the effectiveness of torture came up, Holder said that “less intrusive methods… are more effective,” and that “I can’t imagine a scenario where we would authorize torture, even in the ticking time-bomb scenario.”

Holder’s comment on the ticking time-bomb scenario seems to be us a sly rebuke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who tried to box Holder in during his confirmation hearing with the hypothetical ticking time-bomb scenario.  At that time, Holder repeatedly rejected the premise that torture was the only way to get information to stop an imminent terrorist attack.  Cornyn pressed on, asking:

But under my hypothetical, if that were the only thing standing between you and deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, you would decline to use that interrogation technique in order to save those lives. Is that correct?

to which Holder replied:

Again, I think your hypothetical assumes a premise that I’m not willing to concede.

Soon after, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) shed some light on Cornyn’s sophisticated thought-process:

I understand Senator Cornyn’s questions. They are questions that anyone who watches Jack Bauer on ‘24′ would ask.

Watch the video below:


Back to today’s Holder event…  When talking about race and the need for more dialogue about the issue, Holder kind-of sort-of appologized for the rhetoric of his famous “nation of cowards” speech, “The speech wouldn’t have gotten the attention it did, if I didn’t use those three words. I’m of mixed emotions about it.”  He concluded: “I wish people would look at the whole speech in its entirety and the need for a dialogue on race.”

As the discussion turned to the Supreme Court vacancy, Holder expressed his agreement with President Obama that the next justice on the Supreme Court needs to have “empathy.”

Ifill also asked about whether his recent trip to Europe had yielded any nations willing to accept Guantanamo Bay detainees, an issue of great concern, a question that failed to get any traction.


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