Friday, April 24, 2009


It's almost a pity the FBI had the sense to get out of the "enhanced interrogation" business the moment they saw it (this per the Levin report). Had they stayed in, journalists might be interviewing former FBI agents and end up, quite accidentally, talking to real experts in interrogation, rather than "former CIA operatives" who obviously think "torture works!"

Apparently "Matthew Alexander," a former CIA officer with real interrogation experience, and a book to prove it, wasn't available to NPR.

Thankfully, he was available to Keith Olbermann:

NPR also mentioned a Pew Research poll showing almost 50% of Americans support the torture. Actually, what the poll found was 16% supported the torture of "suspected terrorists" often, and 28% supported it "sometimes," and that was in February of this year. Before, in other words, the "torture memos" came out, detailing with painful clarity exactly what torture is allowed and how often it was done. And before Shepard Smith blew up, twice, on camera, about America and how America doesn't torture. Funny how details like those memos can change opinions.

Mr. Gerecht tries to make much the same point in the interview, arguing that the question of prosecution will turn on the question of public support, or not, for "enhanced interrogation" techniques. Well, that might be a defense raised by a lawyer: "Do you think it's okay to interrogate a suspect rigorously if he's a terrorist and a Muslim and a brown person and not an American?" But criminal prosecutions are not subject to plebiscite; and polls on American support for torture of "terrorists" is not a legal defense to a crime. And as Mr. Arnold points out, and the Levin report makes clear, all the useful information was gathered by regular interrogation; torture yielded nothing.

Even Robert Mueller has said so.

As Mr. "Alexander" said last night: if you have to do it 183 times, it's not working. Surely even Mr. Gerecht can understand that.

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