Tags: Barack Obama | CIA Torture Report | Immigration | Steve Malzberg Show | Ari Fleischer | torture | report

Fleischer: Prosecuting Those Involved in Torture 'Dangerous Talk'

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 05:17 PM

The Obama administration's declaration that it's up to the Justice Department whether to prosecute those who approved and carried out the torture of terror suspects is "dangerous talk," says Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush.

"This is extraordinarily foolish and dangerous talk," Fleischer, president of Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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Fleischer says any legal actions by the United States in the wake of the critical report on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques after the 9/11 attacks may trigger copycat prosecutions overseas.

"Here's the real problem, it's Europe. If Europe decides because of this report that they should prosecute Bush administration officials or when you go abroad they're going to arrest you, think ahead," he said.

"What's going to happen if Europe decides they want to do the same thing to the Obama administration officials, who after all are killing suspects, including innocents, with drone strikes?

"This is foolish, dangerous talk. It is no way for a nation to engage in war against terrorists who to this day are trying to behead us, kill us, and strike again."

According to the report released Tuesday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, the CIA misled Congress and White House officials about interrogation techniques used on al-Qaida terror suspects.

The report also said the CIA engaged in much more brutal enhanced tactics than publicly portrayed, including waterboarding, mock executions, rectal rehydrations and sexual threats.

The report was solely the work of Democrats. Republicans bowed out early on when they concluded it was a partisan witch hunt intended to damage the Bush administration.

Fleischer criticized Feinstein, who chairs the committee that released the report, saying she and other Democrat lawmakers were well aware of the torture techniques being used on terror suspects.

"They approved it, they in many cases urged us to do more of it and now … [that] George W. Bush is unpopular and things that happened over there [in the Middle East] are unpopular, they totally flip sides, jump and blame us on the things they previously approved," he said.

"The president clearly … knew what techniques were going to be used and he was uncomfortable with two of them and told them not to use those two, even though they would've been considered lawful and then he said the ones that he approved.

"That is the equivalent of presidents picking bomb target or being briefed on bomb targets so they can fine tune it and micromanage a process. Presidents give broad directions to both the Pentagon and the CIA."

He said Bush's approval of the techniques helped keep the U.S. safe.

"At that point, once it's legal, authorized by the Justice Department as well and approved by the president, it's up to the CIA to carry it out," Fleischer said.

"The president was briefed about the results of the programs and what information the CIA was getting, not only from these programs, but from other programs.

"CIA directors under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, three different administrations, two Democrats, one Republican, all say the programs were effective and did save lives."

Asked if Republican lawmakers were missing the point by approving a budget instead of forcing a government shutdown to oppose the president's executive action on immigration, Fleischer said the party must bide its time.

"The cavalry's coming over the hill and you don't want to charge before the cavalry gets there. I can't imagine anything more foolish than trying to fall on your sword now when you don't even have a majority," he said.

"We have a majority coming and we're going to have a lot more leverage and do surgical techniques to carve out anything that would fund the Obama immigration order and stop it from being implemented.

"But you don't do it when you don't have leverage, when you don't have the votes and when it's going to backfire."

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The Obama administration's declaration that it's up to the Justice Department whether to prosecute those who approved and carried out the torture of terror suspects is "dangerous talk," says Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush.
Ari Fleischer, torture, report, dangerous talk
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2014-17-10
Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 05:17 PM
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