With the irresponsible and politically motivated release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA “enhanced” interrogation practices, it’s amazing to see just how many in the media have bought into the “torture” narrative. The details are out there, and the CIA has already undergone a thorough review, but rather than let the American people decide if the information gathered from captured terrorists was interrogation or torture, members of the media have already decided for you.
The Democrat-led Senate Intelligence Committee has worked on their CIA report for years and have pushed for the release of conclusions. Thanks to leftwing Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the cooperation of Barack Obama, the summary report was released to the public, and the media are having a field day. What is so frustrating is that these so-called journalists and commentators seem to forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Just watch the report that aired on Fox News:
Shepard Smith opens his segment by calling the Senate committee’s work a “torture report,” so you know immediately that there is a slant to this story, and it is one that states “the CIA went too far.” Just notice Smith’s face as he cuts to sound bites of Feinstein on the Senate floor talking about some of the findings. Smith is in horror as she talks about arms being chopped off and fingernails being pulled out and acid being poured on prisoners faces.
Oh wait, that’s not what she said at all. In her sound bites, she talks about terrorist prisoners being kept in the dark and being forced to listen to loud music. She talks about them being chained in their cells and only having a bucket to relieve themselves. Horrors!
Smith’s guest, Libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano, is an eager accomplice in perpetuating the “torture” narrative. He even praises Sen. John McCain (someone who was actually tortured) for speaking out “courageously” about the matter.
Not everyone agrees with liberal Smith’s and other media members’ interpretation of the report, however. In an op-ed appearing in the Wall Street Journal, former CIA leaders voice strong opposition to the conclusions of the Democrat committee. The authors of the op-ed include the following: former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general), and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation–essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.
One of the conclusions in the Democrat report is that the CIA’s interrogation techniques were “ineffective in producing intelligence that helped us disrupt, capture, or kill terrorists.” However, the CIA leaders point out some of the results that occurred as a direct result of the interrogations:
* It led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving American and Allied lives.
* It added enormously to what we knew about al Qaeda as an organization and therefore informed our approaches on how best to attack, thwart and degrade it.
There is much at these CIA leaders point out, and I encourage all to read the full op-ed. One point in particular in the intelligence gathered that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The majority on the Senate Intelligence Committee further claims that the takedown of bin Laden was not facilitated by information from the interrogation program. They are wrong. There is no doubt that information provided by the totality of detainees in CIA custody, those who were subjected to interrogation and those who were not, was essential to bringing bin Laden to justice. The CIA never would have focused on the individual who turned out to be bin Laden’s personal courier without the detention and interrogation program.
There is no question that information gathered from the CIA interrogations not only led to the killing or capture of senior al Qaeda leaders, but it also led to the thwarting of plots that could have resulted in more innocent American deaths. So, the question is, “Were the CIA ‘enhanced’ interrogation practices actually interrogation or were they torture?”
As the CIA leaders point out in their op-ed, CIA practices were reviewed by the Obama administration:
President Obama ‘s attorney general, Eric Holder , directed an experienced prosecutor, John Durham, to investigate the interrogation program in 2009. Mr. Durham examined whether any unauthorized techniques were used by CIA interrogators, and if so, whether such techniques could constitute violations of U.S. criminal statutes. In a press release, the attorney general said that Mr. Durham “examined any possible CIA involvement with the interrogation and detention of 101 detainees who were alleged to have been in U.S. custody” after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The investigation was concluded in August 2012. It was professional and exhaustive and it determined that no prosecutable offenses were committed.
Some of the findings of the Democrat report are summarized in this article from the Huffington Post.
Do you think what happened to these terrorists was torture or interrogation? If America had prisoners who knew information about planned attacks that could kill thousands of Americans, what techniques should be used to obtain the information? How far is too far? Is keeping someone in a dark room with no sleep and loud music considered torture?