Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Obama Owes Thanks, And An Apology, To CIA Interrogators"

Marc Thiessen weighs in.

In normal times, the officials who uncovered the intelligence that led us to Osama bin Laden would get a medal. In the Obama administration, they have been given subpoenas.

On his second day in office, Obama shut down the CIA’s high-value interrogation program. His Justice Department then reopened criminal investigations into the conduct of CIA interrogators — inquiries that had been closed years before by career prosecutors who concluded that there were no crimes to prosecute. In a speech at the National Archives, Obama eviscerated the men and women of the CIA, accusing them of “torture” and declaring that their work “did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts — they undermined them.”

Now, it turns out that the very CIA interrogators whose lives Obama turned upside down played a critical role in what the president rightly calls “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.”

It is time for a public apology.

Be sure to read the rest, because Marc gives some valuable insight to how interrogations work.

It's easy for the mind's eye to envision scenes from '24' when someone says 'waterboarding' or 'enhanced interrogations'. There's quite a bit more to it than asking in a loud voice, "Where is the bomb?"

As Marc said:

CIA interrogators would ask detainees questions to which the interrogators already know the answers — allowing them to judge whether the detainees had reached a level of compliance.

Don't ask questions you don't already know the answer too.

When the prisoner is cooperating, they are asked many of the same questions, slightly varied to make sure that the prisoner is still giving consistent answers. Even if the prisoner is willingly to give up answers, I think I'm right in guessing that there is still a small amount of 'Trust but verify' when dealing with the detainees. Little checks along the way in the process of gleaming information just to make sure that the person being interrogating doesn't have a little bit of jihad in him.

Another series of checks is to ask about something small, seemingly trivial. If that answer checks out, move on to ask about more important items. The interrogators don't start right in with the finger removing and bamboo shoots under the toenails. There is a science involved with it. It starts with breaking the will of resistance first, then eliciting cooperation.

Waterboarding was one small step along the pathway of killing Osama Bin Laden.

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