At Bush library, Condoleezza Rice to defend enhanced interrogation practices

Not sidestepping controversy, Condoleezza Rice will defend the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation and rendition program at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday. The remarks will appear in a five-minute video presentation, which was obtained by Foreign Policy in advance of the dedication. In the clip, Rice emphasizes Bush’s ...

610511_1509898372.jpg
during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30.

Not sidestepping controversy, Condoleezza Rice will defend the Bush administration's enhanced interrogation and rendition program at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday.

The remarks will appear in a five-minute video presentation, which was obtained by Foreign Policy in advance of the dedication. In the clip, Rice emphasizes Bush's deep commitment to civil liberties and national security while making "difficult decisions" following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. She also claims the interrogation program prevented future attacks on the homeland. 

"The president asked two very important questions in the decision to use these techniques," says Rice of her former boss's interrogation program. "He asked the CIA if it was necessary and he asked the Justice Department if it was legal. Both departments answered yes."

Not sidestepping controversy, Condoleezza Rice will defend the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation and rendition program at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday.

The remarks will appear in a five-minute video presentation, which was obtained by Foreign Policy in advance of the dedication. In the clip, Rice emphasizes Bush’s deep commitment to civil liberties and national security while making "difficult decisions" following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. She also claims the interrogation program prevented future attacks on the homeland. 

"The president asked two very important questions in the decision to use these techniques," says Rice of her former boss’s interrogation program. "He asked the CIA if it was necessary and he asked the Justice Department if it was legal. Both departments answered yes."

"Only when he was satisfied that we could protect both our liberties and our security did he signal that we could go ahead," says the former secretary of state. "The fact that we have not had a successful attack on our territory traces directly to those difficult decisions." A portion of the clip appears below:

The remarks may cause something of an awkward moment today, as they coincide with Barack Obama’s visit to the Bush library. Though Obama and Bush have shared many counterterrorism policies, enhanced interrogation remains a key sticking point between the two administrations, with the president on record opposing Bush administration policies. "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationals were used, it was a mistake," Obama said in 2009.

Rice’s remarks also come as partisans on both sides grapple with Bush’s legacy. A New Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Bush’s approval rating rising to 47 percent, a sharp increase from when he left office in 2009 at 33 percent. Barack Obama’s approval rating, meanwhile, hovers around 47 percent as well.

More from Foreign Policy

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden  at a meeting of the U.S. Congressional delegation to the NATO summit in Spain on July 7, 1998.

Liberal Illusions Caused the Ukraine Crisis

The greatest tragedy about Russia’s potential invasion is how easily it could have been avoided.

A report card is superimposed over U.S. President Joe Biden.

Is Biden’s Foreign Policy Grade A Material?

More than 30 experts grade the U.S. president’s first year of foreign policy.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gives a press briefing.

Defining the Biden Doctrine

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sat down with FP to talk about Russia, China, relations with Europe, and year one of the Biden presidency.

Ukrainian servicemen taking part in the armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk region of the country attend the handover ceremony of military heavy weapons and equipment in Kiev on November 15, 2018.

The West’s Weapons Won’t Make Any Difference to Ukraine

U.S. military equipment wouldn’t realistically help Ukrainians—or intimidate Putin.