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Top Interrogation Experts Agree: Torture Doesn't Work

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In light of the all-out attempt by those who condoned torture to convince Americans that torture is a necessary evil, I am re-posting, with updates, an earlier essay on this topic.

The top FBI, CIA and army interrogators all say torture doesn't work:

  • Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says:
    "Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:
    “The administration’s claims of having ‘saved thousands of Americans’ can be dismissed out of hand because credible evidence has never been offered — not even an authoritative leak of any major terrorist operation interdicted based on information gathered from these interrogations in the past seven years. … It is irresponsible for any administration not to tell a credible story that would convince critics at home and abroad that this torture has served some useful purpose.

    This is not just because the old hands overwhelmingly believe that torture doesn’t work — it doesn’t — but also because they know that torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.”
  • The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn't work
  • A former US Air Force interrogator said that information obtained from torture is unreliable, and that torture just creates more terrorists
Still don't believe it? These people also say torture doesn't produce usable intelligence:
  • Former high-level CIA official Bob Baer said "And torture -- I just don't think it really works ... you don't get the truth. What happens when you torture people is, they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you."
  • Rear Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General for the Navy, said "Another objection is that torture doesn't work. All the literature and experts say that if we really want usable information, we should go exactly the opposite way and try to gain the trust and confidence of the prisoners."
  • Michael Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, said "I personally think that any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear."
  • Dan Coleman, one of the FBI agents assigned to the 9/11 suspects held at Guantanamo said "Brutalization doesn't work. We know that. "
Many other professional interrogators say the same thing (see this, this, and this).

Indeed, top American World War 2 interrogators got more information without torture than those who use torture are getting today. And the head of Britian's wartime interrogation center in London
said:
“Violence is taboo. Not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information.”
Indeed, a high-level Special Ops interrogator said that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place.

And - according to the experts - torture is unnecessary even to prevent "ticking time bombs" from exploding (see this, this and this).
And Dick Cheney's claim that waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed stopped a terror attack on L.A.? As the Chicago Tribune notes:
The Bush administration claimed that the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed helped foil a planned 2002 attack on Los Angeles -- forgetting that he wasn't captured until 2003.
(see this confirmation from the BBC: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ... was captured in Pakistan in 2003").
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George Washington


As a political activist for decades, I have rejoiced in victories for the people and mourned in defeats. I chose the pen name "George Washington" because - as Washington's biographies show - he wasn't a (more...)
 

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