The White House on Friday defended Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture, saying it is a difficult issue to discuss in public.
"These are complicated questions," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said. "Judge Mukasey, I think, did the best he could to be responsible in not talking about interrogation techniques which, as you all know, we decline to do."
Mukasey, a retired federal judge who has ruled in some of America's highest-profile terror trials, frustrated Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday by repeatedly refusing to discuss the legality of specific interrogation techniques - including forced nudity, mock executions and simulated drowning known as waterboarding. Mukasey said he did not know if waterboarding is torture because he is not familiar with how it is done.