Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not just corrupt, but incompetent

So now that we have clear evidence that the U.S. tortured prisoners, the whole "we have to save the U.S. from another 9/11" premise of the torture is shown to be a complete sham.  From an editorial by an FBI agent who actually was part of the interrogation team at Gitmo before he refused to torture prisoners and left.  There was no legal justification to torture, and not even a valid "ends justifies the means" justification. It was cowardly and wrong.

"One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.
It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.
There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. "

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