Torture and intelligence failure in the

This hypothetical sort of torture was not the issue. As with counter-terrorist interrogations today, in the summer of it was necessary for interrogators to get useful operational intelligence from agents as quickly as possible.

Tyrants and dictators around the world will no doubt use the Bush legal memos to justify their own torture programs against political dissidents and human rights activists. Moreover, torture applied by anyone other than well-trained, experienced personnel who are in exceptionally short supply will only compound these problems, and make the practice less productive.

At the end of the war, MI5 interrogators at Camp also worked closely with Allied prosecutors and were responsible for effectively interrogating and gaining intelligence from some of the most notorious Nazi war criminals, some of whom were then delivered to Allied prosecutors at Nuremberg.

There were the Middle East experts who could not understand that al Qaeda was fundamentally different from anything seen before. If you know that an individual is loaded with information, torture can be a useful tool.

You would not find yourself in this situation. The treatment of detainees could have been worse. He used the tools he had, and hoped they were good enough.

There were the intelligence people who regarded Afghanistan as old news. Indeed, the current head of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, is on record refusing to describe water-boarding, the technique by which a prisoner is gagged with a wet cloth to simulate drowning, as torture.

Does intelligence failure justify torture?

Discrete information was not needed, but situational awareness. His possession of the information is proof of his guilt. Critics will presumably argue that this is merely the opinion of a squeamish academic sitting in an ivory tower, who does not have to deal with problems of extracting intelligence from prisoners in as short a time as possible.

This lack of intelligence led directly to the most extreme fears, which in turn led to extreme measures. It was a very reasonable assumption that other al Qaeda cells were operating in the United States and that any day might bring follow-on attacks.

The US administration argued that because detained terrorists were not fighting as lawful combatants, according to the international rules of warfare, those same rules did not need to be applied to them.

There were the intelligence people who regarded Afghanistan as old news. The implication of programmes like 24 and Alias is that torture can work; that good guys sometimes have to use torture to win the war against the bad guys; and most importantly, that physical coercion can produce reliable intelligence.

In the long run, they might have been correct. The problem is that unless you have excellent intelligence to begin with, you will become engaged in developing baseline intelligence, and the person you are torturing may well know nothing at all.


The problem with torture — as with other exceptional measures — is that it is useful, at best, in extraordinary situations. This included hitting a prisoner and any sort of mechanical method used to inflict pain. The president and vice president accordingly were continually kept at different locations, and not for any frivolous reason.

Bush had an opportunity to move beyond the emergency. But the routinization of the extraordinary is the built-in danger of bureaucracy, and what began as a response to unprecedented dangers became part of the process.The use of torture in interrogations is one of the most controversial problems facing governments and intelligence communities at present waging the so-called 'war on terror'.

Evidence suggests that since 11 September the United States, and some of its partners, have used interrogation practices which constitute torture. - The legal and political definitions of torture seem to be very different. Interesting that Senate Dems think torture occurred but that the Attorney General has not prosecuted any supposed torture crimes.

- Strategic intelligence capability is a combination of resources, people, capability, and policy over time. The U.S. Intelligence Failure. The endless argument over torture, the posturing of both critics and defenders, misses the crucial point.

The United States turned to torture because it has experienced a massive intelligence failure reaching back a decade. Dec 11,  · The U.S.

intelligence community simply failed to gather sufficient information on al Qaeda's intentions, capability, organization and personnel. The use of torture was not part of a competent intelligence effort, but a response to a massive intelligence failure.

That failure was rooted in a range of miscalculations over time. The decision to adopt torture as official policy represents a catastrophic intelligence failure on every level.

Tactically, it produced unreliable information, handed terrorists a recruiting tool, put Americans in captivity at greater risk, fueled anti-American sentiment around the world, and undermined international cooperation on counterterrorism issues.

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Torture and intelligence failure in the
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