April 18, 2013 |
NEW YORK - An independent review of the U.S. government's antiterrorism response after the Sept. 11 attacks reported Tuesday that it was "indisputable" the United States engaged in torture and the Bush administration bears responsibility. The report by the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan Washington-based think tank, is an ambitious review of the Bush administration's approach to the problems of holding and interrogating detainees after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
May 27, 2009
I DON'T always agree with Michael Smerconish, but generally find him to be intelligent and thoughtful. Unfortunately, he and many otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people persist in the delusion that torture, as practiced by the U.S., should be referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques. " EIT, as defined by the infamous Yoo/Bybee memo, included not just waterboarding, prolonged stress positions and sleep deprivation, but also gouging eyes out, dousing with acid, slitting an ear, nose, or lip, and disabling a limb.
May 5, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - An al-Qaeda suspect who was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques at a secret CIA prison in early 2004 provided his interrogators with a clue - the nom de guerre of a mysterious courier - that ultimately proved crucial to finding and killing Osama bin Laden, officials said Wednesday. The CIA had approved use of sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity, water dousing, and other coercive techniques at the now-closed CIA "black site" in Poland where the Pakistani-born detainee, Hassan Ghul, was held, according to a 2005 Justice Department memo that cited Ghul by name.
May 2, 2012 |
The one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden has reignited public debate over the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques in U.S. antiterrorism efforts. The discussion is welcomed by an ex-CIA official who has published a book defending controversial interrogation techniques such as simulated drowning, also known as water boarding, as needed to save American lives. That might have been the case when fictional spy Jack Bauer would save the day on the old TV series 24, but top officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have dismissed the notion that torture produced the intelligence that led to bin Laden's lair.
May 15, 2009
Just as harsh U.S. interrogation techniques were being discredited at a Senate hearing this week, the reported suicide of a former CIA detainee in Libya recalled one of the most spectacular and far-reaching failures of torture-like tactics. The detainee who died in a Libyan prison - Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi - helped provide a supposed link between Iraq and al-Qaeda operatives, a claim the Bush administration seized upon to help justify the 2003 Iraq invasion. But it later was revealed that Libi concocted the story after being beaten and trapped for 17 hours in a coffin-like box by Egyptian interrogators doing the CIA's dirty work.
May 21, 2009 |
MANY ARE finding it easy to throw Nancy Pelosi under the bus. She says that in September 2002, the CIA briefed her on en- hanced interrogation techniques (EITs) that had been deemed legal, though not yet implemented. Then she maintained that the agency had told her specifically that waterboarding hadn't been used. Now we know that EITs had been used on Abu Zubaydah. That's why she claims the CIA lied to her. The agency disputes her account. It says she was told that EITs were used against Zubaydah.
January 7, 2013 |
Zero Dark Thirty is impressively spellbinding, even though everyone knows the ending. But the on-screen drama hasn't stymied the offscreen controversy surrounding the movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden. It's funny that the initial criticism came, sight unseen, from the right. Critics of President Obama feared the movie would be a valentine to him in the midst of the campaign. Instead, its release was delayed until next weekend (with a limited release before the new year)
May 6, 2009 |
A "former senior CIA official" said in a recent interview that protecting American lives is the president's most important job. If harsh interrogation techniques achieved that goal, he said, then they were justified. By abandoning these techniques, he added, President Obama is putting his "ideology" before the safety of our citizens. But if protecting American lives had been the Founding Fathers' primary concern, they would not have decided to take on the military might of the British empire.
January 25, 2009 |
If President Obama had read The Inquirer on Tuesday, he would have seen this headline: " 'We're proud' of 9/11, Guantanamo pair say. " What followed was an Associated Press story on what could be the last session of the war-crimes court in Guantanamo Bay. "We did what we did; we're proud of Sept. 11," said Ramzi Binalshibh, a senior al-Qaeda member. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, echoed that sentiment, and at one point asked that his lawyer be removed because counsel represented the "people who tortured me. " Torture was on Obama's mind in his inaugural address and two days later when he signed an executive order outlawing aggressive interrogation techniques.
December 11, 2007
An administration that defends waterboarding isn't capable of conducting an honest investigation into why the CIA destroyed videotapes of the torture sessions. The Justice Department and the CIA started preliminary inquiries Saturday, but Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.) is right: A special counsel is needed to investigate this potential obstruction of justice. The Bush administration is only too relieved those tapes won't be showing up on YouTube. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey arrived after waterboarding was discontinued.