In a surprise move, before adjourning for the weekend, Congress called President Bill Clinton to testify regarding reports that American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners at a facility made notorious for torture during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
President Clinton's testimony followed that of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who accepted complete responsibility for the misconduct among the guards at Abu Ghraib prison, and offered his apology. "I feel terrible about what happened to these Iraqi detainees," Rumsfeld said. "They're human beings."
Rumsfeld quickly amended his comment, adding, "Well, they're like human beings, except that they're actually desert monkeys."
After excusing Rumsfeld for the day, Congress called former President Bill Clinton to offer testimony on the controversial photos from Abu Ghraib. Mr. Clinton was summoned from his hotel at about 6:00 p.m. by representatives from a bi-partisan commission tasked with uncovering the facts and reporting their findings to the international community. The former Preisdent took the stand shortly after 6:15.
President Clinton faced tough questions from both Democrat and Republican members of Congress during his two-hour testimony. The transcript of the question and answer session follows.
-----begin transcript report-------
Q. Hello President Clinton. Thank you for joining us here today. I hope we haven't inconvenienced you by asking that you appear today.
A. Well, to be honest, I'm not quite sure why I'm here, since I left office four years ago.
Q. President Clinton, what did you know and when did you know it?
A. I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. It really all depends. I mean, I had no idea she was under age if that's what you mea....
Q. No, Mr. Clinton, we're speaking about Abu Ghraib--the torture photos from Abu Ghraib. What did you know and when did you know it?
A. Oh, that! Oh. I see. Well, that question is rather difficult to answer, because I don't have any information from, or any influence within, the current administra....
Q. Mr. Clinton, please answer the question. Certainly you were informed--you have had some role--in this administration's efforts in Iraq. Please tell us what you know about the photos, the soldiers involved in these acts, and the individuals involved in photographing and distributing these pictures. Certainly you are aware of the photographs.
A. Well, I've seen them online, just like the rest of America, and on CNN, but if you're asking whether or not I had any foreknowledge on the photos then I'd have to....
Q. YES, Mr. Clinton. That is what we're asking. What was your role--YOUR ROLE--as far as the photographs and video tapes that have emerged from Abu Ghraib in the last several days.
A. My role?
Q. Yes, you're role.
A. I don't think I had any role in...
Q. No, of course you didn't have any rolls--only digital cameras were involved, Mr. Clinton. Digital cameras do not require rolls of film or photo-processing. Do you understand digital photography, Mr. Clinton?
A. Well, I've taken some photographs of Chelsea with my Sony digital camera, so yes, I know about as much about digital cameras as any American...
Q. As much as any American SOLDIER, Mr. Clinton? Do you know as much about using a digital camera as the typical American S-O-L-D-I-E-R?
A. I really don't understand what's going...
Q. We're asking for the truth, Mr. Clinton.
A. Well, I'd really like to give you the truth this time... errr... I mean, the truth. I'd like to give it to you, but I'm not sure what you're getting at--not sure what you're asking me.
Q. Let us make this simple for you Mr. Clinton. A Yes or No answer will suffice. The simple question is: Were YOU the individual taking the photographs at Abu Ghraib? You were, in fact, the man behind the camera, Mr. Clinton, were you not?
A. At Abu Ghraib? You think I took the pictures at Abu Ghraib? For crying out loud, I've been in Harlem since April--I haven't been to Iraq in years--what are you talk...
Q. So you HAVE BEEN TO IRAQ, MR. CLINTON! YOU HAVE BEEN, AND YOU WILL BE AGAIN, AND YOU WERE THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB!
A. Jesus -- are ya'll insane? Have ya'll gone completely bonkers? Are you out of your twisted little Congressional minds?
Q. Mr. Clinton, we are asking the questions here today and we have reason to believe that the photos from Abu Ghraib are part of a vast Left Wing conspiracy to bring down the Bush Administration, and we have reason to believe that you and Mrs. Clinton are leading this conspiratorial effort.
A. Why would we want to conspire about what's.....
Q. BECAUSE, MR. CLINTON, YOUR WIFE WANTS OUR GUY'S JOB. We know this, we have reliable intelligence on this, and we would like it, for once in your godforsaken life, if you would TELL US THE TRUTH about this--about something--about ANYTHING! Just say it, Mr. Clinton. JUST SAY IT. SAY "I WAS THE GUY WHO TOOK THE PICTURES AND LEAKED THEM TO 60 MINUTES AND THE LIBERAL MEDIA!!!!" SAY IT!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SAY IT!
A. You know what? I'll tell you the truth. For once in my life I will tell the truth as I sit here before you sorry sacks of shit. You want to know the truth? Here's the truth. While your military machine was raping Iraqi detainees, I WAS taking digital pictures! Does that make you happy? I was using my Sony to shoot some really hot pics with plenty of naked bronze flesh, yah, and plenty of plastic and leashes, even nipple clamps, brothers. I was taking those photos, okay? But guess what--I WASN'T taking them at Abu Ghraib. I was taking them at my office, on the carpet, on my oak desk, on the leather couch. Mmmmm, that's right. Getting into the kink right in my own office. You got it? You understand what was going on there?
Q. Mr. President--Please!
A. You understand you choir boy rapists? You understand? I was having my new assistant Monique pose for me, yes that's right, and she posed for me, brothers, she posed all of it for me, and I took care of her posing for me in ways you war mongering limp dicked sorry excuses for men will never understand. Never. So kiss my Arkansas Ass because I'm outta here. I left this shit behind me four years ago, and I'm leaving it behind now.
Q. Mr. President!
A. You can call me Bill and you can leave me the hell alone. Unless you want some lessons on how to run an economy, and I don't mean into the ground, then I suggest you lose my number.
--end transcript report--