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CNN fails to identify former Bush homeland security official in report on torture

Think Progress [1]
Wednesday, Nov 19, 2008

CNN aired a story this afternoon reporting that human rights groups are urging President-elect Obama to “investigate whether the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes,” specifically, torture techniques that were approved for use against terror suspects. CNN reporter Kelli Arena noted that human rights groups argue that torture should never be used, but that “[i]ntelligence experts say that would be a mistake.” Which “expert” did Arena turn to to make that case? Former White House Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend. At no point did CNN identify Townsend as a former Bush official. Instead, she was labeled an “intelligence expert” and “CNN national security contributor.” Watch it:



CNN was either too lazy to find another “intelligence expert,” or they didn’t have any luck finding anyone else to say it’s okay to torture.


ARENA: The government admits that at least three top al-Qaeda operatives were waterboarded or made to feel like they were drowning, a technique the CIA says it no longer uses.

Officials say other detainees were kept awake for days, forced to stand for hours or exposed to extreme cold. Human rights groups say none of it should be allowed. Intelligence experts say that would be a mistake.

TOWNSEND: Some of these tools will be rarely used, but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to have them for that rare instance where your experts and advisers tell you that it might be effective in thwarting a plot and saving American lives.