Mukasey Calls Waterboarding 'Repugnant,' Dodges Legality

AG nominee's 'massive hedge' worries critics
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2007 6:09 AM CDT
Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, on the second day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey frustrated senators on both sides of the aisle by again refusing to specify whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture, calling it only "repugnant," CNN reports. "Hypotheticals are different from real life," Mukasey wrote to confirmation committee members yesterday, adding that he wasn't privy to what techniques investigators are allowed to use.

Mukasey did reaffirm his belief that federal law bars presidents from ordering the use of torture. Congress banned waterboarding in a 2006 law, and what one senator terms Mukasey's "massive hedge" has some threatening to oppose his confirmation. Committee chair Patrick Leahy groused that Mukasey "finds himself unable to state unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal," and has not set a decision date.