August 22, 2009

Did CIA interrogators stage mock executions and brandish a gun and a drill to frighten detainees into giving up information?

WaPo:
The tactics -- which one official described Friday as a threatened execution -- were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA's inspector general's report on the agency's interrogation program....

Three months before Nashiri's capture, the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel -- Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge -- advised the CIA in an August 2002 memo that threats of "imminent death" were not illegal unless they deliberately produced prolonged mental harm. Independent legal experts have called that interpretation too hedged and thus too lax....

A ... former U.S. official who has read the full, classified report said that it contained an entire section listing ways in which the CIA and contracted interrogators had "gone beyond what they were authorized to do -- a whole variety of deviations." The official said that what struck him most strongly was that the report suggested these techniques were "really not effective."

He said he concluded that "there has to be a better way to do this" but that the CIA resisted suggestions then that it should back away from the program. Asked why, the official said he could not say for sure, but he added that "maybe it was that if you change, then it means you were wrong" in pursuing the harsh interrogation methods in the first place.

27 comments:

Flexo said...

Let's back up a bit, shall we?

These are not, as the Post disingenuously puts it, mere "detainees." These are killers of 17 sailors on the U.S.S. Cole.

Perhaps we should have treated them the same way that they treated those sailors. Would that have satisfied the left?

traditionalguy said...

We should sell them back for oil Contracts and do public pennance like Obama Man loves to see his America do. This is not your granfather's America that kicked ass back as hard as the murderous thieves from all over the world chose to do to us, thus creating a Pax Americana for 60 years. Be alert now for the coming World Chaos of wars resulting from Renegade Obama giving his tacit permission for the world to go into piracy on an industrial scale so long as his Cabal of Marxists gets their cut of the loot.

Darcy said...

Oh, my. Cold-blooded mass murderers got the wits scared out of them.

Thanks for filling in the details, Flexo. That background is everything.


WV: "rearti" As in heads up their...

Robin said...

"Did CIA interrogators stage mock executions and brandish a gun and a drill to frighten detainees into giving up information?"

Well let's hope so.

WV: oppidocr. Better word than ophthalmologist.

Jason said...

Left unsaid: Perhaps these techniques were not effective on hardened, fanatic terrorists. What other interrogational techniques or approaches were used first and found to be ineffective? How many interrogaters did we try?

Among professionals, there is a lot you try first before you get to fear-up harsh.

Should we just give up at some point?

AllenS said...

I hope they got waterboarded also.

paul a'barge said...

1. The official said that what struck him most strongly was that the report suggested these techniques were "really not effective."

Suggested?

The CIA wrote an official report that suggested. Do you have any idea how unlikely it is that the CIA included a section in an official report that suggested something?

2. He said he concluded that "there has to be a better way to do this" but that the CIA resisted suggestions then that it should back away from the program. Asked why, the official said he could not say for sure, but he added that "maybe it was that if you change, then it means you were wrong" in pursuing the harsh interrogation methods in the first place.

Or, just maybe this so-called official is a moron whose ideas are so pathetic they can be dismissed out of hand with good reason.

How come the so-called official didn't include that possibility in his analysis?

wv: extre - the state of being in which this so-called official found himself after living a life in The Beltway.

Big Mike said...

It's a common tactic in the US for police and prosecutors to threaten to bring charges against an arrested individual that they know they can't back up in court in order to elicit "cooperation" -- information about some other case, agreement to testify against another person, guilty plea to some lesser charge, etc. Nobody seems to complain very much about that, do they? Isn't this just a very slight step further along the same line?

SMGalbraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Mun't use torture Ever!

Repeat that mantra 1 billion times and sip the kool-aid.

John Lynch said...

Say "what" again.

G Joubert said...

It's an interesting unknown. Torture is torture. We know that much. But is threatening torture torture? Even if it isn't true? A conundrum.

Freder Frederson said...

Torture is torture. We know that much. But is threatening torture torture? Even if it isn't true? A conundrum.

Actually it isn't a conundrum at all. It is explicitly written into the U.S. statutory definition of torture 18 USC 2340 2(c)

So defend it if you like. But don't claim it isn't torture.

J. R. said...

Hey, thanks for the glass of Kool Aid, Alex. I drank it and now I feel sooo much better. Those pangs of moral distaste that used to bother me when hearing that stuff like this was done by my own government... well, they're gone now! And sometimes I would reflect on my Catholic upbringing and think, while reading news like this, that perhaps these techniques do indeed cross the line and are, you know, wrong. No more! It is a complex, and sometimes difficult, question no more! Now I can just spurt our bravado and support violence without all that internal questioning... THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!

Paul Snively said...

So here's an inconvenient truth:

By the end of WWII, England's MI-6 had successfully found every German agent in England and doubled them. While the methods behind their discovery of the locations of all of the agents were sometimes subtle and sophisticated, the means by which they doubled them weren't: they were told they had the choice of cooperating or being shot. Unsurprisingly, exactly zero of them opted to be shot.

When our enemies have taken it upon themselves to kill us, when we find them and detain them, we are correct to take it upon ourselves to extract as much information as we can from them—before doing unto them as they have done unto us. That is, killing them, just in case any of the moral lightweights who frequently feel compelled to comment on the evil "torture regime" of the United States should happen to read this.

Freder Frederson said...

Unsurprisingly, exactly zero of them opted to be shot.

Actually, it sounds like the Nazis had some pretty unreliable spies. I'm sure that the allies' spies would have chosen death (and often did) at a much higher rate than betraying their country.

Besides what is your point? Telling someone they faced the expected penalty for espionage during wartime, and giving them an option to avoid it, is not the same as staging a mock execution

PatCA said...

Aw, those poor detainees!

Maybe we should have the Boy Scouts question them for their Man Caused Disaster badge?

Hey, has anyone noticed that the verification words are almost actual words? Kinda fun.

The Drill SGT said...

Hey, has anyone noticed that the verification words are almost actual words? Kinda fun.

LOL Patca, you haven't been around much apparently. Yes, many of us define our WV's. It's good sport

WV: Plato = no need to define this one

On the main topic. So we can shoot them in wartime, but can't threaten to shoot them in what many of us consider to be a war that they declared on us?

PatCA said...

Oh I missed that discussed!

Mine was resticat. That's a cat who is napping?

Cedarford said...

G Joubert - "Torture is torture. We know that much. But is threatening torture torture? Even if it isn't true? A conundrum."

freder - Actually it isn't a conundrum at all. It is explicitly written into the U.S. statutory definition of torture 18 USC 2340 2(c)

Torture is torture is a nursery school chant. Torture is whatever anyone claims it is because the various do-gooders and lawyers that met and signed "agreements" wanted to keep the definition vague.
Panties on the head? Torture. Eating your grandma's boiled to green-gray mush asparagus? Torture! Being "humiliated" having to talk to a female infidel prison guard? Torture. Cutting someones tongue off? Torture. Keeping a prisoner without sleep for a day? Torture!!

And Freder - quote the USC all you want. Whole chunks of civilian law are not applicable in times of war and national emergency. Under war powers, and emergency powers the Governors or President have for major domestic incidents.

OK to kill and deliberately maim enemy (maimings that cripple and often cause excruciating pain, sometimes slow death). OK to kill civilians if unavoidable. (bomb a Taliban caravan of 1/3rd armed fighters, 2/3rds civilians).

Emergency zones in disasters? Curfews. Property and commodities commandeered. Emergency personnel permitted to waive the 4th, search property. Order people from their homes. Suspend habeas if need be. Violate State law and the USC right and left if emergency powers allow.

In both war and national emergency, the public safety (as Jefferson said) - is of higher priority than any law.

TennGoodBoy said...

Dear Terrorist Detainees:
You want to kill Americans, and we want to stop you, so here's how to stop the torture and/or threats of torture. Simply tell us what we want to know, and we will get you an ice cream, or goat testicles, or whatever you consider a good thing (but not an 8-year-old girl).
Advance aapologies to the goat...
You are welcome, a US Navy Veteran.

EnigmatiCore said...

"really not effective" is a problematic phrasing.

What does it mean?

Does it mean, that these 'techniques' never resulted in important information?

Does it mean, that they did but intermixed with so much crap that one could not tell the good from the bad?

Does it mean, that they infrequently worked but occasionally (or even rarely) gave good information, that a cold hearted bastard like me might think could prevent the next 9-11?

G Joubert said...

Actually it isn't a conundrum at all. It is explicitly written into the U.S. statutory definition of torture 18 USC 2340 2(c)

I recall congress also passed a law directing that Lake Champlain is one of the "Great Lakes" too. Pfff-tt went that argument.

The question is a philosophical one and a common sense one. Not a legal one. Torture is severed digits and/or limbs, electrodes to the genitals, and such and so forth. Is saying you're going to do that, without any intention of ever actually doing it, the same thing as doing it?

Bob said...

If a police officer tells a suspect during an interrogation that he will be charged with a crime; does that constitue a crime? I think not. A police officer can lie during an interrogation, as unpleasant as that may be.

We all want the intel but a segment of our population seems to believe we can just ask nice and a terrorist is going to spill his guts.

UWS guy said...

Actually, being "nice" to terrorists in detention has provided great intel. in our never ending WoT.

Lemme ask you this. If giving 1,000,000 dollars and a beach house in Tahiti convinced a terrorist to divulge all his information would you do it?

Or are you much happier staging a mock execution despite not learning anything important? I think some would go for the torture even if it meant innocent americans lost their lives.

Iran, lybia, saddam's Iraq they all have very brutal secret police and intel...I guess they're all much smarter than we are, since pulling fingernails seems to be the best option for rooting out witches amirite? Look how many we caught in salem!

And we [i]never[/i] pick up the wrong middle easterner right? The CIA never makes mistakes! I trust them to always torture the "guilty" person and never someone innocent, right Darcy?

Cops beat, taze, plant false evidence on Americans every year, surely the safe-guards in place for foreigners with the CIA would be much better!

EnigmatiCore said...

"If giving 1,000,000 dollars and a beach house in Tahiti convinced a terrorist to divulge all his information would you do it?"

The answer to this hypothetical, which you obviously feel is such a gotcha, is found in the problem with pirates.

You can pay $1M to get your guy free. The primary cost, though, isn't in the $1M you just paid. Rather, it is in the unbounded millions you, and others, will pay in the future since you just made piracy incredibly lucrative.

Would I pay $1M to get information that would stop a terrorist attack? If I could spend the taxpayers' money to do so, you betcha. And the next $2M I would spend would be to a hitman to put a bullet in the head of the guy to who we gave the $1M.

Methadras said...

This story is a lame diversion/smoke screen away from President BarelyCares idea of trying to foist his policies and ideas onto the American public.