Why CIA interrogations report matters: Torture doesn’t work and Americans need to know

As a former professional interviewer with the FBI, I know what works and doesn’t. Torture is not an effective way to get information, and the American people need to know that. That’s why the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation and detention after 9/11 is important.

The executive summary of the report, written after reviewing hundreds of thousands of the CIA’s internal documents, shows that torture was more brutal and much less fruitful than the CIA claimed. In fact, the committee concluded that all the claims about the value of intelligence gained from “enhanced” interrogation—including the claim that it helped the U.S. find Usama bin Laden—are overstated or just plain false.

Proponents of torture are contesting these well-documented findings.

So let’s look at the facts.

On 9/11, the CIA had few, if any, experienced counterterrorism interrogators. Their traditional purview had been intelligence collection during the Cold War. Inexperienced in this area and overwhelmed they resorted to techniques that merely sounded good but in fact worked against them.

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Published on December 18, 2014

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