David Addington verbally parried with members of a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee seeking information about torture and whether breaking the law was justified, among other things, The Washington Post reported Friday.
When asked whether the president could ever justify breaking the law, Addington said, "I'm not going to answer a legal opinion on every imaginable set of facts any human being could think of."
Addington told the panel he wasn't going to "render legal advice" on whether it was legal to torture a detainee's child.
Quizzed about a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interrogation he witnessed, Addington said, "You could look and see mouths moving. I infer that there was communication going on."
Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., the last questioner, asked about waterboarding, an interrogation technique simulating drowning and condemned by human rights groups and others as torture.
"I can't talk to you -- al-Qaida may watch these meetings," Addington told the representative.
"I'm glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington," Delahunt responded.
"I'm sure you're pleased," Addington replied.