- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday hailed the release of a report detailing the techniques the CIA used to interrogate terrorism suspects after 9/11, saying its release speaks to the United States’ strength as a country because it’s willing to open up about its mistakes.

“Think of the countries who would be willing — willing — to say ‘we made a mistake. We made a big mistake and to make sure it never happens again, we’re going to let the whole world know the mistake we made — it’ll never happen again,’” Mr. Biden said at an appearance at the 2014 “Women Rule” summit. “That is the true strength of who we are as a nation and that’s the power of this country.”

“The president’s taken us from … us being known for being the example of our power to the power of our example, and this is the single most significant thing that’s [being] done,” he said at the event, sponsored by Politico, Google and the Tory Burch Foundation.

The investigation, released by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, concluded that the CIA misled Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and scope of its post-9/11 treatment of terrorism suspects. The CIA has pushed back on the report, saying the interrogations produced intelligence that saved lives.

With regard to potential prosecutions as a result, Mr. Biden said it’s up to the Justice Department to determine whether there is any cause of action to be taken against any individual.

“But, in a sense, to me that’s the least important piece,” he said. “The most important piece is we’re big enough, strong enough, and consistent enough to say, ‘we made a mistake.’ We made a mistake, we’re exposing it — that will strengthen us worldwide, it will not weaken us, and that it will make it more difficult for the mistake to ever be … made again.”

Asked if it’s a “black stain” on the United States, Mr. Biden replied, “No — I think it’s a badge of honor.”

“Every country has engaged in activity somewhere along the line that it has not been proud of,” he said. “But think about it: name me another country that’s prepared to stand up and say, ‘this was a mistake. We should not have done what [we’ve] done, and we will not do it again.”

He encouraged attendees at the the event to check out the Senate floor speech delivered Tuesday by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, defending the release of the report.

“Listen to John McCain — a man who had every bone in his body broken. A man who was brutally tortured,” Mr. Biden said. “A man who spent seven years in a prison, and I strongly urge you to look at the speech John made today. It’s breathtaking. It explains my view [in] a more articulate way [than] anything I could say or the president could say.”

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