Issues ››› Interrogation
  • Conservative Media's Celebration Of Torture

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Conservative media celebrated the effectiveness of torture in response to news that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee would release its report on the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) detention and interrogation program, attacking the Senate for releasing the report and disputing the report's findings. Military and interrogation experts have emphasized that torture is an ineffective interrogation technique, and human rights groups support the release of the report.

  • Right-Wing Media Don't Understand The Effect Of Mirandizing Terror Suspects


    On June 15, the United States apprehended the individual suspected of leading the terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, transferred him to a U.S. naval ship, and ultimately arraigned him in federal court in Washington, D.C. on June 28. Since his capture, right-wing media have repeatedly complained that the suspect was not entitled to Miranda warnings or due process.

  • Right-Wing Media Ignore Fact That Civilian Courts Are Better Than Military Commissions At Prosecuting Terrorists

    ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG

    Right-wing media are criticizing the Obama administration for bringing Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged leader of the Benghazi attacks, to trial in a U.S. criminal court. But federal civilian courts have proven significantly more successful at convicting terrorists than military commissions, give terrorists tougher sentences, deprive terror suspects of the "honor" of being considered enemy combatants, and do not prevent the gathering of intelligence.

  • Fox Host Chris Wallace: "I Would Have Waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Myself"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox host Chris Wallace reacted to a U.S. Senate investigation into the Bush administration's torture policies by claiming he "would have waterboarded" Al Qaeda terrorist "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed myself." Wallace's remark came after it was reported that the investigation concluded waterboarding Mohammed didn't provide critical information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden, as defenders of the technique had claimed.

    Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the executive summary and conclusions of a lengthy report about the Bush-era CIA's detention and interrogation program. The White House will now have to approve the release. The Associated Press reported that aides and people briefed on the report said the investigation found waterboarding was ineffective.

    With regard to Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times, the AP reported the "Senate report concludes such information wasn't critical" and "confirmed only what investigators already knew":

    The most high-profile detainee linked to the bin Laden investigation was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused 9/11 mastermind who was waterboarded 183 times. Mohammed, intelligence officials have noted, confirmed after his 2003 capture that he knew an important al-Qaida courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.

    The Senate report concludes such information wasn't critical, according to the aides. Mohammed only discussed al-Kuwaiti months after being waterboarded, while he was under standard interrogation, they said. And Mohammed neither acknowledged al-Kuwaiti's significance nor provided interrogators with the courier's real name.

    The debate over how investigators put the pieces together is significant because years later, the courier led U.S. intelligence to the sleepy Pakistani military town of Abbottabad. There, in May 2011, Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in a secret mission.


    Essentially, they argue, Mohammed, [senior al-Qaida operative Abu Faraj] al-Libi and others subjected to harsh treatment confirmed only what investigators already knew about the courier. And when they denied the courier's significance or provided misleading information, investigators would only have considered that significant if they already presumed the courier's importance.

    The classified Senate report adds more support to other national security experts who have concluded that waterboarding and other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" did not provide effective information leading to bin Laden's capture.

    During an April 4 appearance on The Mike Gallagher Show, Wallace previewed Fox News Sunday by saying he'd talk about "enhanced interrogation and whether or not the CIA covered up what was actually going on. I personally, I would have waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed myself." On Fox News Sunday, Wallace noted the investigation's reported conclusion "that the enhanced interrogation produced little intelligence of significance." In 2009, Wallace similarly remarked that when it comes to waterboarding, "I'm with" fictional 24 character "Jack Bauer on this."  

    Listen to Wallace's remark below:

  • Hannity's "Heroism Vs. Politics" Obama Special Filled With Right-Wing Bunk

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Sean Hannity devoted his Fox News show Friday to furthering misleading attacks on President Obama's record on national security.

    Hannity opened his show by playing a misleading political ad from a right-wing political activist that deceptively edited statements President Obama made about the Osama bin Laden raid to make it look like Obama took all the credit for the success of the raid himself. Hannity then asked audience members whether they agreed that Obama "politicized the killing of bin Laden this week":

    The reality is that President Obama has repeatedly thanked and praised the American troops and other military and intelligence individuals who participated in the mission.

    Hannity later turned to birther and less than ethical Fox military analyst Gen. Thomas McInerney to criticize the Obama administration for attempting to negotiate with the Taliban. McInerney said "you can't negotiate with them." However, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and many other national security experts have said that it is in America's interest to negotiate with the Taliban.

    Perhaps the most disgraceful part of Hannity's special was when he brought up the topic of waterboarding and said that "President Obama calls that torture." Fox national security analyst KT McFarland then offered a full-throated defense of the practice:

    McFARLAND: No, it's not torture. And there's a second issue, which is: Did it work? And it worked. And if it worked, it's kept the United States safe for this last 10 years -- even if it's torture, it's probably worth doing.

    In fact, former interrogators, intelligence officials, and experts have stated that torture did not lead to bin Laden's whereabouts, and furthermore, that it doesn't provide trustworthy information.

    And it's not just President Obama that "claims" waterboarding is torture.

  • Memo To Fox: Just Because You Can Shoot Someone During A Military Operation, It Doesn't Mean You Can Waterboard Them

    Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

    On Sunday, while interviewing National Security Adviser Tom Donilon about the killing of Osama bin Laden, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked: "Why is shooting an unarmed man in the face legal and proper while enhanced interrogation including waterboarding of a detainee under very strict controls and limits, why is that over the line?" Fox News has since promoted this as possibly the best question ever asked.

    But in fact, common sense provides an answer to Wallace's question. For a moment, let's take terrorism out of the equation and look at two cases of alleged police brutality in New York City: the cases of Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima.

    Diallo, a resident of the Bronx, was stopped early one morning in February 1999 by New York City police officers looking for a serial rapist. During the stop, Diallo reached into his jacket. The officers said they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun. They fired 41 shots, hitting Diallo 19 times and killing him. It turned out that Diallo was unarmed and had been reaching for his wallet. After a trial, the officers were acquitted of all charges resulting from Diallo's death.

    While some disagree with the outcome of the Diallo case, it's obvious that if police officers can show a reasonable fear that a civilian is threatening them, they can respond with force (including deadly force if appropriate).

    Louima, a resident of Brooklyn, was arrested by New York City police officers who were responding to a disturbance at a Brooklyn nightclub. One of the police officers believed that Louima had punched him during the disturbance. Louima then was sodomized in a bathroom of the police precinct by police officers. Two of the police officers involved in the case were convicted of charges arising from the Louima case. And no one would dispute that, if Louima's allegations were true, the officers involved committed a crime.

    But recall that Louima's ordeal started because an officer believed Louima had attacked him. Therefore, as we know from the Diallo case, the use of force (and perhaps even the use of deadly force) might have been justified in arresting Louima. That doesn't mean, however, that the officers had a free pass to torture Louima later. In other words, just because the police might be able to legally kill someone at one point, it doesn't mean the police are allowed to torture that person under different circumstances.