Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clinton and House Republicans Face-Off

WASHINGTON - House Republicans grilled Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday on renewed US support for abortion providers overseas and on recently released memos detailing harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists in CIA custody, prompting frank and often feisty exchanges with the nation's top diplomat.

Clinton's first appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee was a five-hour, mostly friendly session, but it turned combative at points. Representative Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican, told Clinton that the harsh interrogation techniques - which included mock drownings known as waterboarding - "were cleared with the leadership of both the House and the Senate," apparently referring to classified briefings that some members received about the tactics.

"They knew about them," he said, adding that the CIA officials involved in the interrogations should not be prosecuted. "We need both hands untied with our intelligence agencies to really stop terrorism."

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, repeatedly asked Clinton whether the administration would declassify documents that former Vice President Dick Cheney has said paint the CIA interrogators in a more heroic light and show the important information produced from the interrogations....

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