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Rupert Stone

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BBC US Editor Parrots CIA, Republican Talking Points on Senate Torture Report


The BBC is supposed to be an "impartial", "honest" and "independent" news outlet, but today its US Editor, Jon Sopel, showed very clearly whose side he is on. In a short post, "A whiff of hypocrisy about CIA report?", he regurgitates some staple Republican talking-points and makes arguments eerily similar to those presented by former CIA and Bush officials in their various self-exculpatory media appearances this past week.

His piece bears the revealingly Cheney-esque tagline: “America has not come under serious attack since 9/11 on its home soil – so you would think that would be a source of celebration.” Then, just like CIA Director Brennan at his press conference last Thursday, Sopel kicks off with the September 11 attacks. He speculates that there might eventually be two versions of 9/11, one in which "a war on terror was declared, and those responsible were hunted down and detained, and there were no further attacks on US soil", another in which "the torture tactics used to hunt down and detain those responsible brought condemnation and America lost its moral authority in the world".

Both of these versions are inaccurate. His assumption is that the CIA's interrogation and rendition program was the only factor involved in capturing terrorists. Of course there were other departments of the US government at work - most importantly the FBI (which did not use torture). And there were other methods, besides human intelligence, which yielded information (for example, signals intelligence was crucial to the hunt for Bin Laden).
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