Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Torture Debate is back.....

Shame on you Congressman Peter T. King (NY)...!

Peter T. King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee best known for holding the McCarthy-esque Hearings on Islamic Radicalization earlier this year, told Fox News that the success of the hunt for bin Laden was due to waterboarding. And in an interview with NBC, even C.I.A. chief Leon Panetta—who in his confirmation hearings in 2009 maintained that waterboarding is torture and that torture is wrong—said that intelligence garnered from waterboarded detainees was used to track down bin Laden and kill him.

Torture is effective, these officials argue, and a dead bin Laden is their proof.

But there are several problems with this argument. Despite claims to the contrary, torture has been proven time and again to produce unreliable intelligence. People will say anything to get you to stop hurting them. Even if, as the New York Times reports, one detainee who was “apparently subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier,” there were also two other detainees who underwent some of the same treatment (including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, waterboarded 183 times) who repeatedly misled interrogators about the courier’s identity.

Intelligence is not actionable if you can’t determine whether or not it’s true. Torture made it impossible to tell the difference between good and bad intelligence. Even more, torture produced misleading intelligence. Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002 told the Times that coercive techniques “didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information.” Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council said, “The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003.” He continued, “It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there.”

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