Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Torture Part Deux

I wrote a bit yesterday about the revelation by a former intelligence officer that torture was used by the CIA and that it "worked". Dan Froomkin has a very salient commentary on that story today:

[Brian Ross, ABC News] Ross asked Kiriakou to say a bit more about those thwarted attacks: "Were they on US soil? Were they in Pakistan?"

Kiriakou replied: "You know, I was out of it by then. I had moved onto a new job. And I-- I don't recall. To the best of my recollection, no, they weren't on US soil. They were overseas."

But where's the evidence?

Like Kiriakou, Bush last year described Zubaydah as a senior terrorist leader who divulged crucial information under questioning.

But, as I wrote in Friday's column, Bush and the Torture Tapes, investigative reporter Ron Suskind has written that Zubaydah was a mentally ill minor functionary, and that most if not all of the information he provided to the CIA was either old news -- or entirely made up.

There are many reasons why Americans should be skeptical about assertions that terrorist attacks were thwarted as a result of what administration officials would call "enhanced interrogation." (I enumerated some of the reasons last month at, where I am deputy editor.)

But it all boils down to the fact that, so far, no one from Bush on down has come up with a single documented example of American lives saved thanks to torture.

To me, it doesn't matter if torture works or not, it's wrong. But in this case (like most things Bush), it appears to be highly suspect that the torture actually resulted in good information.

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