McClellan: “I Could Not Say Honestly Today that this Administration…Does Not Engage in Torture”

By Nitya

Jul 9, 2008 8:00am

In our ABC News Shuffle Podcast this week (which you can listen to HERE or on iTunes), former White House spokesman Scott McClellan had some interesting things to say about torture.

After I asked him whether he ever looks back at things he said from the podium that just were not true and knew at the time were not true, McClellan said no, but when it came to detainee policy "almost to a full extent I had to rely on other people within the White House to provide me with the information I needed for that. I did not sit there and participate in the policy making process for detainees. We’re only now learning the full truth of who was involved in that and what exactly occurred.

"But when I went out and said, ‘we do not torture, that we adhere to our international treaties’ and so forth, I was relying on what information was being given to me. Now, looking back on that, I hold a very different view when I know today that were engaged in waterboarding and some other harsh interrogation methods and I would have never made those comments from the podium had I known exactly what was happening in some of those settings.

"Whether or not it was illegal is a matter for other people to address, but I could not say honestly today that this administration does not believe in torture, does not engage in torture. Now, people within the White House continue to believe…that it’s not tantamount to torture. I just hold a different view today on that subject."

- jpt

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