The principal author of three detailed memos authorizing the use of torture by the CIA during the Bush administration had his confirmation hearing this morning for a senior position in the Trump administration. Thanks to Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), it didn’t go so well.
Steven Bradbury, who in 2005 used his position as the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to give the green light to the CIA’s use of 13 different “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and other forms of torture, both individually and combined, told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee today that he was just using his best legal judgment at the time. Bradbury has been nominated to be General Counsel of the Department of Transportation.
Duckworth didn’t buy his defense. “Your willingness to aid and abet torture demonstrates a failure of moral and professional character that makes you dangerous regardless of which agency you serve in,” she said.
And that was just the beginning. Duckworth’s questioning this morning was some of the most powerful I’ve seen in the Senate. It’s worth watching her response in full: