From CNN's Ed Hornick
May 29, 2009
Democratic Carl Levin is challenging former Vice President Cheney's recent claims about the effectiveness of the Bush administration's use of harsh interrorgation techniques.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told a Washington audience this week that claims by former Vice President Dick Cheney that classified CIA memos showed that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked were lies.
Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association's annual dinner on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques — now deemed torture by the Obama administration — "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims."
The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released "say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."
"I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction," he added.
Cheney, who has become a vocal public defender of the Bush administration's controversial interrogation policies, had asked the Obama administation to declassify the documents so there can be a more "honest debate" on the Bush administration's decision to use them on suspected terrorists.
He argued that those techniques provided valuable intelligence that saved American lives, but critics say they amounted to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody
On May 14, the CIA rejected the former vice president's request. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano, in a written statement, said the two documents Cheney requested are the subject of two pending lawsuits seeking the release of documents related to the interrogation program, and cannot be declassified.