Media Still Crushing on Old Flame Colin Powell

Robert Parry (Consortium News, 5/25/09) thinks that “there is no one, it seems, that the U.S. mainstream news media loves more than Colin Powell,” and as proof offers “Powell’s disingenuous response” to Bob Schieffer’s May 24 CBS Face the Nation “question about the ex-secretary of state’s knowledge regarding ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ which the International Committee of the Red Cross and virtually all other objective observers say constituted torture”: Powell–whom, Parry recalls, “was a member of President George W. Bush’s Principals Committee, which oversaw the interrogation policies”–claimed to an unchallenging Schieffer, “to have been kept mostly out of the loop…. He was ‘not privy’ to the legal memos authorizing the abusive treatment.”

Such transparent tripe was left to the renegade Washington Stakeout questioner (and longtime FAIR associate) to take on:

Outside the CBS News‘ Washington offices after the interview, media analyst Sam Husseini asked Powell what he knew about the torture of al-Qaeda suspect Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who made false claims linking Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al-Qaeda, lies that Powell then cited in his infamous pro-invasion speech before the United Nations on February 5, 2003.

“I don’t have any details on the al-Libi case,” Powell responded.

When asked when he learned that some of the bogus evidence had been extracted by torture, Powell said, “I don’t know that. I don’t know what information you’re referring to. So I can’t answer.”

And when Husseini explained to Powell “that the information had been publicly discussed by Powell’s former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson,” Powell was reduced to a grade school reply of “So what?” All of which leads Parry to some questions of his own–“Did Powell participate in the Principals Committee?… Did he object to the abusive techniques… that he says ‘were judged not to be torture’?–and to a pointed conclusion:

For a Washington press corps that has been up in arms challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the CIA obscured key details of the harsh interrogations from congressional leaders, it was impressive to see how little skepticism was evinced by Powell’s claim of ignorance from his seat on Bush’s Principals Committee.

See the FAIR Media Advisory: “Does the CIA Ever Lie?: Parsing the Pelosi Torture Controversy” (5/20/09)