Discussing the recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that found more than half of Americans believe the interrogation tactics used on 9/11 terror suspects were justified, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell used her forum to question both the validity of the findings and the morals of those who share the majority opinion.
She said 51 percent of those polled felt the tactics, which she asserted “have been defined as torture,” were appropriate under the circumstances, while just over a quarter believed they went too far.
“Polling is always an imprecise measure because of how the questions are asked,” she said, “but that’s pretty much the way supporters of the CIA would have thought it would come down.”
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NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel weighed in, asserting that the result “seems to show where the country is,” though he made it clear that it in no way should be seen as vindication of Bush-era practices.
“It seems to show people think what happened was justified and that the means justified the ends,” he said. “I think history will judge whether that is the right opinion or whether it is an emotional opinion.”
He also insisted that “people will also judge should public opinion really be setting policy,” a sentiment with which Mitchell agreed.
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“Exactly,” she said.
Engel continued, indicating that just because people might want to see certain tactics used against terror suspects “doesn’t make them morally right or legal either.”
Mitchell responded by suggesting the techniques employed by CIA interrogators “are against U.S. law and international law and international treaties,” despite the fact that those involved have repeatedly maintained their methods were approved by U.S. authorities.
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