My opposition to the
previous administration’s policies that led to torture and detainee
abuse should come as no surprise to anyone here. I don’t think I need to rehash those arguments.
the Attorney General’s move to investigate potential criminal
wrongdoing in the implementation of those policies has provoked a
backlash from the Obama administration’s critics. They claim this will
threaten intelligence gathering operations and make our country more
vulnerable to attack.
A former FBI counterterrorism official,
Jack Cloonan, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one
of the Defense Department’s best interrogators, Col. Steve Kleinman,
and the senior DoD interrogator who tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
Matthew Alexander, all say that argument is wrong.
and Kleinman both interrogated suspects after 9/11. They both also say
that the arguments we’re seeing between Democrats and Republicans are
political in nature. Their professional assessment is that we must
examine what we’ve done since 9/11 in order to understand our true
vulnerabilities and prevent the process from going off the rails in the
future. From their interview with The Public Record:
respectfully disagree profoundly with the assessment that any effort to
look back would make us more vulnerable, Kleinman said. “In fact, we
have to look back to show our utmost vulnerabilities.
the honor of testifying before four committees of Congress and I am
always astounded at the profound political partisan politics that
surround this issue. I’m a professional interrogator I have 25 years of
experience in this and I don’t have any concern whatsoever that an
investigation into how we conducted ourselves since 9/11 would in any
way undermine our ability to continue gathering intelligence.”
or less, they argue that the only people who have anything to worry
about from an investigation are the ones who acted unethically or
improperly. Kleinman even goes so far as to say that the “true
professionals” are actually privately in support of such an inquiry.
three experts have written to Congress asking for the creation of an
independent commission to examine both failures in the implementation
and in the creation of the policy, as going after just those who
carried out the orders does not necessarily do anything to prevent
policymakers from going down this road again.
categorically refute Dick Cheney’s claim that these methods thwarted
terrorist attacks and saved American lives. The article also notes
that even former NSA and CIA director Gen. Hayden has backed off from
such claims. The truth, all three say, is that these policies cost us
far too much, in terms of opportunities squandered, intelligence
tainted, and lives lost as terrorist attacks increased worldwide.
guys have been in the field. They have seen our enemy first-hand.
They’ve done the real work. I believe them when they say we got it
wrong on this and we need to fix it. It is the rule of law and our
respect for the rights of all human beings that separates us from the
extremists. If we give those things up, then what are we fighting for?