Negroponte acknowledges waterboarding in Reuters interview
Former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte slipped up and admitted to the National Journal that the US has waterboarded detainees--not on his watch of course:
Negroponte: I get concerned that we're too retrospective and tend to look in the rearview mirror too often at things that happened four or even six years ago. We've taken steps to address the issue of interrogations, for instance, and waterboarding has not been used in years. It wasn't used when I was director of national intelligence, nor even for a few years before that. We've also taken significant steps to improve Guantanamo. People will tell you now that it is a world-class detention facility. But if you want to highlight and accent the negative, you can resurface these issues constantly to keep them alive. I would rather focus on what we need to do going forward.
Content-wise, Negroponte isn't revealing anything we don't know. Moreover, I'm not prepared to believe that waterboarding is thing of the past on Negroponte's say so.
Still, every bit of official, on-the-record acknowledgment is important.
The administration tries to shut down debate about the merits of its programs by cloaking them in spurious self-protective secrecy. Officially, these "extraordinary" programs are too secret do talk about. So, Negroponte screwed up.
When the torturers are called to account, statements like Negroponte's will help establish what people knew and when they knew it.