Rahm Emanuel had a message to critics of the administration's decision to release torture memos: the information is already out there, read the New York Review of Books.
The brash White House chief of staff, appearing on ABC's This Week, pushed back hard at those individuals -- notably former CIA chief Mike Hayden -- who insist that the release of documents pertaining to the treatment of detainees was a security threat.
"We've banned these techniques and practices," said Emanuel. "Banned them. Because we didn't think they were consistent with America's security... Second is, we've enhanced America's image abroad. These were tools used by terrorists, propaganda tools to recruit new terrorists. And the fact is having changed America's image does have an impact on our security and safety and makes us stronger."
Pressed a bit further about the security implications of such disclosures -- the notion being that terrorists were somehow now briefed on the intricacies of American interrogation policy -- Emanuel reminded the detractors that much of the info was already public knowledge.
"One of the reasons the president was willing to let this information out [was that] the information was out," he said. "So if they're saying you basically have exposed something, it's been written. Go get the New York Review of Books. It is there. So the notion that somehow we're exposing something -- it's already been out. In fact, President Bush...allowed a lot of this information out. So the notion that somehow this all of a sudden is a game changer doesn't take cognizance of the fact it's in the system and in the public domain. Therefore, it's not new... Number two: it's one of the key tools al Qaeda has used for recruitment. There has been a net cost to America by changing the way America is seen in the world, which means banning this technique and practice, we have actually stopped them and prevented them from using it as a rallying cry."
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