Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lots of Discussion About the US and Torture

Since my post last week about the release of the torture memos, discussions of the issue have dominated the news (or, to be more precise, those news outlets that I frequent -- Diane Rehm, the News Hour, Sunday talk shows, MSNBC, etc.).

Initially, Obama (and then Rahm Emanuel) said that the Administration would not pursue legal action against either (1) the CIA interrogators who were actually involved or (2) the Office of Legal Counsel attorneys who wrote the memos. By mid-week, however, Obama had changed his tune and said that Attorney General Holder would be the decision-maker as to whether or not legal proceedings are initiated.

There is a lot of discussion about the efficacy -- or not -- of using torture. As I understand it, Obama's Director of National Intelligence said that important information was learned, but FBI Director Robert Mueller contradicted him and said nothing was learned that wasn't already known from permissible interrogation methods. Ali Soufan, an FBI special agent, wrote an op-ed piece in The Times (here) in which he argued that torture did not produce any good information.

John Dickerson, on Friday's Gabfest, said that a recent poll (by Pew, I think) showed that 75% of Americans assented to the use of torture under certain circumstances.

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