There is "plenty of hypocrisy to go around" concerning Tuesday’s release of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s so-called "torture report," legal scholar Alan Dershowitz said Thursday on Newsmax TV
’s "America’s Forum."
"In the wake of 9/11, everybody wanted torture to be used, do whatever you can do and stop another 9/11," he said.
"Public opinion polls showed a vast majority of Americans supporting the use of enhanced interrogation techniques if it would stop a terrorist attack. Even President Bill Clinton got on NPR and said if there were ever a ticking bomb situation, he would do whatever he had to do."
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Fast-forward 13 years and "people remember their own views very differently," he said. "The idea of prosecuting these folks for doing what the Americans wanted them to do is preposterous."
Dershowitz, who said he is opposed to torture, agrees that the CIA operatives "overdid it" when engaging in enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding.
In his 2002 book "Why Terrorism Works
," Dershowitz floated the idea of torture warrants.
"In those days, we know that torture was being used," he said Thursday. "It was being used extensively, far too often and far too much.
"I said in order to limit the amount of torture that was being used — I myself am opposed to torture, but I recognize that it was being used — we have to limit it to cases where a court would grant a torture warrant based on extraordinary need, no other way of getting the information and a court would have to approve it," he said.
"The president of the United States would have to sign a sworn affidavit indicating the critical need. Perhaps with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, waterboarding would've been permitted, but none of the others would've been permitted.
"When we do any kind of torture, there has to be accountability for it," Dershowitz said. "We can't blame the low-ranking people in the CIA. A torture warrant would give that kind of accountability and visibility in extraordinary situations."
The warrants could be obtained by phone or email, and in extraordinary circumstances where a "ticking bomb" exists, after the fact, he said.
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