That's different than a denial, as Froomkin observes. There are, I think, two options. Either the president was utterly unaware of a torture session of a key al Qaeda suspect where the methods were, according to Kiriakou, meticulously recorded and approved all the way up the chain of command; or he knew all of it. Either he is a war criminal or an incompetent. I don't think he's that incompetent. The more we find out, the clearer it is that the torture program was the primary pillar of this president's war policy - before the Afghanistan war or the Iraq war. Every formulaic statement - "we do not torture;" "I have no recollection" - is related to that fact. And they destroyed the tapes not just to protect themselves, but to protect him.

Yes, this is like Watergate. But that was a petty break-in the president covered up. These are war crimes. Directed from the very top.

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