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Stanford Students Grill Condi Rice On Torture Definition

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Following disclosure by a Senate Armed Services Committee report that she gave verbal approval to CIA Director George Tenet to use waterboarding on detainees, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended herself in an impromptu interview (see the video below) with Stanford students at a campus reception on April 27.

Rice told the Stanford students that waterboarding is not torture, based on the authorization to use an extreme method that simulates drowning by President Bush and legal counsel. "I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency," she said.

In other words, as Richard Nixon said in his interview with David Frost in 1977, "When the President does it, that means it is not illegal."

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, Rice said she didn't recall the details of conversations at the White House regarding CIA interrogation techniques. With the memos made public that disclose her role in authorizing the questionable interrogation methods, she now remembers more about those conversations.

Speaking on MSNBC, John Dean, Nixon's White House counsel during the Watergate debacle, said that Ms. Rice may have implicated herself in a conspiracy to authorize illegal methods of interrogation. President Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would rather let the history books deal with the past and avoid appointing a special counsel to examine what happened in the post 9/11 George W. Bush era. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is hoping to form a non-partisan torture commission to investigate what happened. Ms. Rice is not likely a fan of Sen. Leahy's idea.

See also: Harper's: Condi's Really Bad Day