Sunday, April 26

CIA Agent Bob Baer: Torture Doesn't Work

Former CIA Operative Bob Baer, whose story formed the basis for George Clooney's Syriana appearing Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss the fact that Torture Doesn't Work - and he should know, he was tortured.

In this interview he points out yet again the FBI director Mueller has stated that Torture has Not Saved American Lives, and that even the Israelis have refrained from using it for years - even when they had Hamas Rocket's raining down on them - because it simply doesn't generate good information.

He even points out, as I have many times that real life isn't like "24" - and the decision to employ tactics such as these always have consequences.

From Baer's Time Magazine Article:

When the CIA was asked to resume hostile interrogations after Sept. 11, some agency leaders were dead set against it, arguing that the military was better equipped for the task. But Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted the job belonged to the CIA. We now know that Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month. His interrogator, a former CIA colleague of mine, admits he had almost no training in the technique and knew nothing about how the cumulative effect of waterboarding might affect the quality of the information he was trying to extract.


The use of torture has come at huge costs to American credibility and the morale and psychology of our intelligence agencies. If we're going to pay those costs, we ought to know what we're getting. A thorough clearing of the air will help discredit the idea that we either torture terrorists or become victims. This false choice is played out on shows like 24, leaving people with the notion that had the FBI somehow caught one of the hijackers in the hours leading up to Sept. 11, torture would have led to the arrests of the 18 others before those planes took off. The truth is less sensational and more unsettling--but ultimately one that Americans should learn to accept. There are ticking time bombs out there. But torture won't get us any closer to discovering when they're going to go off.


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