US Needs Truth on Torture: 9/11 Commission Chair

Kean: "We oughta know what happened"

The United States needs a panel to probe allegations of torture by the CIA, according to Tom Kean Sr., chairman of the 9/11 Commission .

It would be best if Congress took charge of any "truth commission" investigation, but if such a probe would become too political, then an independent commission along the lines of the 9/11 investigation should be set up, the former Republican governor of New Jersey said.

"We oughta know, we oughta know as American people what happened," Kean told News 4 New York in an exclusive interview. "I don't believe much in secrecy unless it protects the national security and I can't see how this protects the national security."

When asked if he would be willing to lead another truth commission at the behest of President Barack Obama, Kean said, "You consider everything the President asks you to do."
Kean vehemently rejects some of the oft-used tortue tactics such as waterboarding or simulated drowning.

"I've always thought it (waterboarding) was ... going back to the Spanish Inquisition, and it's always been considered toruture and I've always thought it torture and it's something Americans shouldn't do," Kean said. 

The former governor said that he doesn't want to see any CIA officers prosecuted, but added there shouldn't be any restrictions on an investigation. "Once you have one of these bodies, you've got to allow them all the information, everything, the highest security clearance which we have," Kean said.

Kean charged the CIA with lying to his 9/11 commission when the agency failed to disclose the existence of dozens of videotapes of interrogations -- tapes that were later destroyed. He also said he thinks the agency's refusal to let his staff conduct face-to-face questioning of detainees was an attempt  to hide that some of them had been tortured.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has strongly defended what he calls "enhanced interrogation techniques." Given the opportunity for an in-person chat with Cheney, Kean said he would ask him how much he knew about these "techniques" and when he found out.

Kean does not oppose a total ban on torture, despite his opposition to some of the alleged torture tactics of the previous administration. There's one exception. "If you thought there was an imminent attack on the United States, within a day, and one person had the information to stop it," Kean said.

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