CIA Found Torture Not Effective

The argument over torture is primarily one over morality, but beyond the fact arguments that it is immoral and illegal, the use of torture also harms the United States far more than it helps us.  Recently declassified documents reveal that the CIA’s inspector general found no proof in 2004 that torture helped prevent  any “specific imminent attacks,” contradicting recent claims from war criminal Dick Cheney.McClatchy reports:

The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any “specific imminent attacks,” according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks…

“It is difficult to quantify with confidence and precision the effectiveness of the program,” Steven G. Bradbury, then the Justice Department’s principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote in a May 30, 2005, memo to CIA General Counsel John Rizzo, one of four released last week by the Obama administration.

“As the IG Report notes, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks. And because the CIA has used enhanced techniques sparingly, ‘there is limited data on which to assess their individual effectiveness’,” Bradbury wrote, quoting the IG report…

Helgerson also concluded that waterboarding was riskier than officials claimed and reported that the CIA’s Office of Medical Services thought that the risk to the health of some prisoners outweighed any potential intelligence benefit, according to the memos.

The IG’s report is among several indications that the Bush administration’s use of abusive interrogation methods was less productive than some former administration officials have claimed.

Even some of those in the military who developed the techniques warned that the information they produced was “less reliable” than that gained by traditional psychological measures, and that using them would produce an “intolerable public and political backlash when discovered,” according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report released on Tuesday.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    John H says:

    The Bush people seem to assume that everything the people being waterboarded told them was true, at least as long as they were hearing what they wanted to hear. If a detainee said they did not know anything they were “obviously lying” and had to be interogated more harshly. If a detainee said an attack was planned in Chicago obviously they were “telling the truth.” Bush then claimed he prevented an attack.

    The problem is it is impossible to prove an event that never occured was about to happen.

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    The problem is that the Bush people assumed every detainee to be a terrorist, cut and dried, with no presumption of innocence even considered. This is why the ‘enemy combatant’ tag was used in all terror arrests, why the Guantanamo camp was opened, and why military tribunals (which are legal for trying prisoners of war for military crimes) were considered appropriate.

    With the presumption of guilt in every case, the desired response from the detainees was confession. Thus torture was perfect, as it has always been a great way to get a confession (ask the KGB or Cotton Mather), and the confessions thereby gained were all considered valid by default. If you consider someone to be guilty, you don’t question their confession.

  3. 3
    Tom Belt says:

    The Bush administration says that torture worked. They are right.  The use of torture brought forth the predetermined answers they wanted to be able to pass along to the people. They tortured until they got those answers. Those “answers” allowed the bush regime to lie the US into an aggressive war,  spy on Americans without warrants, trash the Constitution , create the huge military industrial complex, form a private army (Blackwater) and in general lay the foundation for more hatred of the United States and recruitment  tool for terrorists.
    They did this by culling through scum lawyers until they found some low enough and ambitious enough to write their memos which supposedly made torture legal.

    They did not make torture legal and all involved including the lawyers, pres.,vp,sec. of defense, sec. of state, and everyone else that encouraged, ordered and performed torture must be indicted and prosecuted.
    There is no need for a truth panel. That would only serve to hide the truth forever. The truth is there in broad daylight and must be dealt with.

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