A Bush-era memo released by the White House Thursday revealed interrogation methods used by the Bush administration including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forced nudity. Some of the methods Bush lawyers approved included keeping detainees naked, in diapers or in cramped confinement. Some former Bush officials say President Obama’s decision to declassify these memos is putting the country in danger.
Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security Adviser to President Bush, spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s American Morning Friday.
John Roberts: What is your take on the release of these memos? These were among the Bush administration's most closely-guarded secrets.
Fran Townsend: John, we should be clear with our viewers. Even during my time in the administration, I wasn't a part of the policy discussions but I will tell you here is my concern about the release of them. Regardless of what you think on the issue of whether or not waterboarding is torture, there were legal documents created and relied upon by career intelligence officials who then implemented the program. There were very strict controls on the program. These people relied on them and, now, to release them and to subject these people, these career professionals to a sort of public humiliation and opprobrium and then the potential of a congressional investigation really will make our intelligence community risk-averse.
I think that is what Mike Hayden, the former director of CIA, is getting at when he says “look you’re going to make us less safe.” I think there’s real potential in that. I think the administration needs to come out and tell us why did you release them? I think they made the right decision to say they are not going to prosecute intelligence officials and I think Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, made a very strong statement on that issue. But I will tell you, then why did you release them? What was the purpose? Because we've won legal cases in the courts to protect those memos up to now from public disclosure.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/17/art_vohman_cnn.jpg caption="Erika Vohman's Equilibrium Fund teaches women how to reap the benefits of the Maya nut."]
FLORES, Guatemala (CNN) - In the rain forests of Central America grows the nutrient-rich Maya nut. The marble-sized seed can be prepared to taste like mashed potatoes, chocolate or coffee. To those who stumble upon the nuts on the ground, they're free for the taking.
The problem, however, is that many people living in areas where the Maya nut grows abundantly don't know about it.
Erika Vohman is trying to change that - and improve rain forest conservation and women's status in the process.
"People are living right there, in extreme poverty, not even eating more than one meal a day and there's Maya nut lying all around," Vohman said. "They don't eat it because they don't know."
Vohman has traveled to Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, conducting workshops that teach women how to harvest, prepare and cook or dry the prolific seeds into tasty, hearty foods.
The 45-year-old biologist first encountered the Maya nut while visiting rural Guatemala a decade ago for an animal rescue effort. An indigenous colleague told her of the native resource, once an essential food staple of his Mayan ancestors; the civilization had widely cultivated the large tropical rain forest tree, the Brosimum alicastrum, that produces the Maya nut.
That colleague prepared a Maya nut soup for Vohman and she found it delicious.
(CNN) - Overnight singing sensation Susan Boyle says she's overwhelmed by the attention coming her way through millions of views on YouTube.
"I'm gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked," she told CNN Friday morning. Watch her sing
The 47-year-old shocked and inspired the audience, judges and Web watchers after she powered through "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables" on the TV show "Britain's Got Talent."
A clip of Boyle's performance had more than 15 million views on YouTube by Friday, and the world's media have beaten a path to her door in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland.
"I'm enjoying every second of it," she said of her sudden fame, but said it won't change her.
"I wouldn't want to change myself too much, because that would make things a bit false," she told CNN's "American Morning." "I want people to see the real me, the real person."
Here are the big stories on the agenda today: