On her show last night, Rachel Maddow provided a genuine service. [tip: TPM] She reviewed Bush Administration claims about the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq (with clips) and ran that alongside a time line concerning the use of torture. This took about six minutes. Then she interviewed Charles Duelfer, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, who says that “Washington” suggested using stronger interrogation techniques against an already cooperative Iraqi official, and Robert Windrem, who reports that two sources confirmed to him: 1. the suggestion was to use waterboarding; 2. it came from the Vice President’s office; 3. the purpose was to find a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.
Duelfer doesn’t exactly say that he was told to find a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq. But that’s the strong suggestion of his comments, and he doesn’t object when Maddow draws that inference. (He does object to the characterization of his being ordered to use more aggressive techniques. It was more of a suggestion – one which was not acted on.)