“This is the bill the Administration has sent up to Congress….focus ought to be on sections 5 through 7 (pages 77-84), which are, as I predicted here, collectively an attempt to authorize the CIA to engage in the sorts of “enhanced” interrogation techniques — e.g., hypothermia, threats of violence to the detainee and his family, prolonged sleep deprivation, “stress positions” and waterboarding — to which the President alluded in his speech today, and to immunize such conduct from any judicial review. …
The thrust of the President’s speech is that such techniques — let’s call them “torture light,” since the President is so insistent that we never “torture” — are absolutely necessary to preventing terrorist attacks. Apparently the Pentagon hasn’t gotten the memo. At a briefing this morning, Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence John Kimmons forcefully argued that:
I am absolutely convinced [that] no good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that. . . . Moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can’t afford to go there. – more
Kimmons is right.