Obama’s Director of National Intelligence: “Enhanced interrogation works”

Posted on April 22, 2009


Just a day after the CIA disclosed that intense interrogation techniques performed on Khalid Sheik Mohammed stopped a terror attack in LA and led to the arrest of the terrorist Hambali, the Director of National Intelligence in the Obama administration further defended their use. Admiral Dennis Blair wrote an internal memo saying techniques such as waterboarding provided “high-value information” that assisted in understanding al-Qaeda operations against this country.

Interestingly, the memo that was originally released to the public by the administration had the words of support redacted. I’m not going to personally read too much into that, as Blair’s office says they were deleted in the normal process of shortening a memo for release, but you would think those words would be fairly significant to keep in.

While it’s true that we have considered waterboarding by other nations as torture, there’s an increasing argument that it works, as Patterico goes into here. As I’ve said before, I don’t want America in the business of cutting off fingers and branding with hot irons, and I don’t want us to get into the business of torture. At the same time, what do you do when you have a known terrorist who won’t answer your questions? At some point, asking nicely will fail to work, especially when you release CIA interrogation policies so your potential enemies will be prepared for what’s coming. At that point, do you just shrug your shoulders and cross your fingers?

I’m not saying it’s an easy choice, nor am I discounting the ethical and moral dilemma involved. At the end of the day, though, it’s about saving lives and busting up terror cells that target civilians for slaughter. And the absolutely wrong thing to do is to prosecute people in a previous administrations that used “aggressive interrogation” in at least a semi-successful manner.

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