With Mr. Mukasey’s confirmation in doubt over his refusal to state a clear legal position on a classified Central Intelligence Agency program to interrogate terrorism suspects, Mr. Bush took the unusual step of summoning a small group of reporters into the Oval Office to preview remarks he planned to make later in the day at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research organization here.
I have a quick response/thought: if Mr. Mukasey refuses to "state a clear position" on a CIA Program, I think he's right to refuse. If he's asked to describe what occurs in the program, I think he's right to refuse on two grounds -- describing it would be wrong, and not knowing the contents, since he's not yet privy to the program (as the President asserts often) would make him a bad candidate to discuss it.
But if a particular practice is described in the abstract -- such as waterboarding -- that practice is either legal or illegal. He's a lawyer, and a judge; he can figure that out. He can answer -- not whether we're doing it, but whether the practice is legal.
YES that would have grave and tremendous consequences, and YES that's why it's not only Fair Game to be asked, but kinda required, if you ask me.
I know you're shocked, but I'm kinda solidly in the "no torture" camp, and in the "define torture broadly so as to eliminate unconscionable practices" camp.