Jim Risch Has Plenty to Say About Torture, Not So Much About Gun Control

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Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch issued a brief statement Dec. 14 in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 28 dead:

"I am appalled by this senseless act of violence that occurred against innocent children and adults in Connecticut. There are no words that can adequately convey our sorrow for the families and friends of the victims. As parents and grandparents, Vicki and I express our deepest sympathies to the people of Newtown."

Risch had less to say about the ever increasing national dialogue about restrictions of firearms. Through a spokesperson, Risch added, "When emotions are this high, now is not the time to make policy."

But when the Huffington Post quizzed Risch on Dec. 13, the Idaho senator (member of the U.S. Congress Select Senate Committee on Intelligence), he had plenty more to say about the government's use of torture, featured prominently in the new movie, Zero Dark Thirty, the powerfully dramatic portrayal of the hunt for Osama bid Laden. While Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein insist that torture techniques didn't lead to the capture and death of bin Laden, Risch said torture played at least a minor role, according to the Huffington Post.

"In this particular instance, a scintilla of evidence was given up that happened to lead to this," Risch told the Huffinton Post.

Risch had plenty more to say:

"That does not mean I support it. I do not. Where enhanced interrogation turns into torture, of course, becomes a grayish line. But having said that, some of the things that were done were things that I wouldn't want to see done."

"The issue isn't does torture work or not. The issue is, is torture right, or is torture wrong? And the answer to that is torture is wrong. It shouldn't even be a question as to whether it works or not. ... All the stuff I've looked at—and I've looked at lots and lots and lots of stuff—I don't think any reasonable person could reach a conclusion based on that, that torture works or it doesn't work."

Zero Dark Thirty opens in Boise on Friday, Jan. 11. You can read our review of the film in the current issue of BW.

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