Helen Thomas Questions Bush Admin on Use of Torture
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas asks the White House to reconcile contradictory statements on the approval of and use of torture:
Q The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?
MS. PERINO: Helen, you’re taking liberties with the what the President said. The United States has not, is not torturing any detainees in the global war on terror. And General Hayden, amongst others, have spoken on Capitol Hillfully in this regard, and it is — I’ll leave it where it is. The President isaccurate in saying what he said.
Q That’s not my question. My question is, why did he state publicly, we do not torture —
MS. PERINO: Because we do not.
Q — when he really did know that we do?
MS. PERINO: No, that’s what I mean, Helen. We’ve talked about the legal authorities —
Q Are you saying that we did not?
MS. PERINO: I am saying we did not, yes.
Q How can you when you have photographs and everything else? I mean, how can you say that when he admits that he knew about it?
MS. PERINO: Helen, I think that you’re — again, I think you’re conflating some issues and you’re misconstruing what the President said.
Q I’m asking for the credibility of this country, not just this administration.
MS. PERINO: And what I’m telling you is we have — torture has not occurred. And you can go back through all the public record. Just make sure — I would just respectfully ask you not to misconstrue what the President said.
Q You’re denying, in this room, that we torture and we have tortured?
MS. PERINO: Yes, I am denying that.