What Blair actually said

WHAT BLAIR ACTUALLY SAID…. This morning on Fox News, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), said President Obama was “factually inaccurate” when he said that torture doesn’t work. King added that Obama’s “own Director of National Intelligence says [the previous administration’s torture policies] did work.”

Dick Cheney made a very similar point yesterday, citing Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama’s national intelligence director, who said Cheney’s preferred tactics produced “high-value information.”

It’s been about a month since this was news, and King and Cheney probably hope Americans have forgotten the details, so let’s quickly set the record straight (again).

In mid-April, Blair told colleagues in a private memo that the Bush administration’s abusive tactics did, in fact, produce “high-value information” about al Qaeda. Blair added, however, that had he been in a position of authority when these interrogation techniques were approved, he “would not have approved those methods.”

And why not? If torture produced “high-value information,” and we need “high-value information,” why would the Admiral reject the tactics? It’s not complicated:

“The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

Republicans are citing the national intelligence director as a source of support, when he clearly is taking the polar opposite position. Blair believes the “enhanced interrogation program” was not only unnecessary, but also proved counterproductive to our interests.