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Torture Watch

By Dan Froomkin
11:30 AM ET, 04/ 2/2009

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Ali Frick writes for Thinkprogress about how former secretary of state Colin Powell ducked MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's questions yesterday about his role in approving the torture of detainees.

Maddow: "On the issue of intelligence, tainted evidence, and those things, were you ever present at meetings at which the interrogation of prisoners, like Abu Zubaida, other prisoners in those early days, where the interrogation was directed, where specific interrogations were approved? It has been reported on a couple of different sources that there were principals meetings to which you would have typically been there, where interrogations were almost play by play discussed."

Powell: "They were not play-by-play discussed, but there were conversations at senior level as to what could be done with respect to interrogation. I cannot go further because I don’t have knowledge of all the meetings that took place or what was discussed at each of those meetings and I think it’s going to have to be the written record of those meetings that will determine whether anything improper took place...."

Maddow: "Water boarding, were those officials committing crimes when they were getting their authorization?"

Powell: "You ask me a legal question...I mean I don't know items would be considered criminal and I will wait for whatever investigation that the government or the Congress intends to pursue with this."

One reason for optimism: Powell's repeated insistence that the "complete record I think in due course will come out."

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