Alex Massie

America’s Worst Congressman

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The loathsome Peter King is at it again. Speaking to Politico, he's up in arms that some people think torturing prisoners is wrong.

King, channeling both the sense of outrage and of political opportunity felt in parts of the GOP, defended in detail the interrogation practices — threats to kill a detainee's family, and or to kill a detainee with a power drill — detailed in a CIA inspector general report released yesterday.

"You're talking about threatening to kill a guy, threatening to attack his family, threatening to use an electric drill on him — but never doing it," King said.  "You have that on the one hand — and on the other you have the [interrogator's] attempt to prevent thousands of Americans from being killed."

"When Holder was talking about being 'shocked' [before the report's release], I thought they were going to have cutting guys' fingers off or something — or that they actually used the power drill," he said.

Pressed on whether interrogators had actually broken the law, King said he didn't think the Geneva Convention "applies to terrorists," and that the line between permitted and outlawed interrogation policies in the Bush years was "a distinction without a difference."

It's at this point that it is traditional to note that Congressman King has previous on all this. The only terrorists Peter King thinks should receive protection from the Geneva Conventions are Irish Republican terrorists. That terrorism - ie, blowing up pubs, slaughtering kids as they were out shopping and trying to assassinate the British Prime Minister - was a "noble" cause as far as King was concerned. If he had a problem with the IRA's old interrogation tactic of threatening a "six-pack" - that is a bullet through each elbow, wrist and knee - one can't remember him ever saying so. And, sure, if it was good enough for the IRA it should be good enough for the CIA. After all, the Provos were "the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland" weren't they? 

Even by the low standards of the House of Representatives, King is a disgrace. But I suppose, at least he can be relied upon to provide copy.


Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.