A member of the press was finally brave enough to call the administration on the issue of torture. That person is Helen Thomas. Ms. Thomas has covered every President since Kennedy and used to have a coveted first row seat for press conferences. She has since been relegated to the back row(officially reason is because she no longer works for a wire service) , although she does sit up front for press briefings. She has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and therefore is no longer regularly called upon by the President. As I have stated here before, the press has seemingly been unable or unwilling to follow up on the report that Bush administration not only condoned torture at the highest levels, but planned it out as well. The silence from the "Fourth Estate" has been all but deafening. Thankfully, Helen is still out there asking the questions that need to be asked. She got into a discussion with Dana Petrino (who recently admitted that the she didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was) about "torturegate". Here is part of her exchange with the White House press secretary yesterday:
"THOMAS: The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?
MS. PERINO: Helen, you’re taking liberties with the what the President said. The United States has not, is not torturing any detainees in the global war on terror. And General Hayden, amongst others, have spoken on Capitol Hill fully in this regard, and it is — I’ll leave it where it is. The President is accurate in saying what he said.
THOMAS: That’s not my question. My question is, why did he state publicly, we do not torture —
MS. PERINO: Because we do not.
THOMAS: — when he really did know that we do?
MS. PERINO: No, that’s what I mean, Helen. We’ve talked about the legal authorities —
THOMAS: Are you saying that we did not?
MS. PERINO: I am saying we did not, yes.
THOMAS: How can you when you have photographs and everything else? I mean, how can you say that when he admits that he knew about it?
MS. PERINO: Helen, I think that you’re — again, I think you’re conflating some issues and you’re misconstruing what the President said.
THOMAS: I’m asking for the credibility of this country, not just this administration.
MS. PERINO: And what I’m telling you is we have — torture has not occurred. And you can go back through all the public record. Just make sure — I would just respectfully ask you not to misconstrue what the President said.
THOMAS: You’re denying, in this room, that we torture and we have tortured?
MS. PERINO: Yes, I am denying that.
THOMAS: Where is everybody? "
Where is everybody, indeed. Thank you, Helen. At least we know one reporter in Washington is still paying attention.