Carl Levin pushes back against Cheney

CARL LEVIN PUSHES BACK AGAINST CHENEY…. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) addressed the Foreign Policy Association last night, and offered a pretty forceful response to Dick Cheney’s recent offensive on national security.

Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, covered a fair amount of ground, debunking the former vice president’s claims about “enhanced interrogation” techniques, for example.

But perhaps Levin’s most newsworthy remarks referenced the classified materials Cheney believes document the alleged terror attacks prevented by torture.

“Mr. Cheney has also claimed that the release of classified documents would prove his view that the techniques worked. But those classified documents say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of the abusive techniques. I hope that the documents are declassified so that people can judge for themselves what is fact and what is fiction.”

It’s worth emphasizing that Levin is, of course, privy to the same materials Cheney has been talking about.

His remarks are hardly surprising, but it’s nevertheless helpful to hear Levin reject the most common claim Cheney has pushed for months now — the documents in question don’t say what Cheney thinks they say.

Greg Sargent added that cable networks have let Cheney (and his daughter) talk endlessly about the alleged torture-works memos, which the mean ol’ president won’t release to help boost the Bush/Cheney legacy. “These claims have gone almost entirely unchallenged, due to the classified nature of the documents,” Greg explained. “You’d think that a contrary claim from a well-respected Senator who has also seen the docs would merit a few passing mentions, too.”