Another Interrogation Insider Says Cheney Lied

We have a long list of people involved in the interrogation of terrorists, from the FBI to the CIA to the military, who have publicly said that torture did not result in useful information. Add one more to the list, Mark Fallon, special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force at Gitmo and in Iraq and Afghanistan. He bluntly says Dick Cheney and others have been lying:

The report’s executive summary is expected to be released Tuesday. After reviewing thousands of the CIA’s own documents, the committee has concluded that torture was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique. Torture produced little information of value, and what little it did produce could’ve been gained through humane, legal methods that uphold American ideals.

I had long since come to that conclusion myself. As special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force with investigators and intelligence personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us” is simply false.

The self-defeating stupidity of torture might come as news to Americans who’ve heard again and again from Cheney and other political leaders that torture “worked.” Professional interrogators, however, couldn’t be less surprised. We know that legal, rapport-building interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain intelligence, and that torture tends to solicit unreliable information that sets back investigations.

Yes, torture makes people talk—but what they say is often untrue. Seeking to stop the pain, people subjected to torture tend to say what they believe their interrogators want to hear.

You know who knows this really well? John McCain, who was tortured by the Vietcong and says he told them anything they wanted to hear, even delivering a false confession. Anything to stop the torture. It doesn’t work. And even if it did, it’s still wrong. You know who said that? Republican hero Ronald Reagan.

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  • howardhershey

    Actually, torture does work, *if* your goal is to get the tortured to say whatever you want or need him or her to say. Such confession is sometimes useful, especially if the truth or falsity of the ‘confession’ is irrelevant. If I want to remove a political opponent or protester who is inconvenient and put them away and discredit them, such a confession is quite useful.

  • D. C. Sessions

    McCain is a RINO and so is “Ronald Reagan,” not to be confused with Saint Ronald the Magnificent.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    There are no words sufficient to describe how surprised I’m not.

    John McCain, who was tortured by the Vietcong and says he told them anything they wanted to hear, even delivering a false confession.

    And the regime that tortured him agrees — based on their experience with him and other US POWs, they explicitly renounced torture as an intel tool. Too bad McSame forgot all that back in his 2008 campaign, when it could have helped a lot.

  • http://www.clanfield.net janiceintoronto

    The U.S. is a society in decline. The report is just another bullet in the head.

    Remember when NSA spying was all the rage? Nothing happened there either.

    Nothing will happen to the CIA, the torturers, or the people who ordered them to torture.

    With luck, there will be another black shot by cops to distract from torture stories.

    Everyone will get away with it, because USA! USA! USA!

  • anubisprime

    There seems to be a rather awkward and long duration nest of neo-con jeebus drooling morons who will never relinquish the idea that torture works.

    It will not matter how many times they will be told this…it will not matter how many folks will demonstrate against it…it is in their DNA.

    As such it is their toy and their pride and joy, although it is a rather clandestine pleasure….but a pleasure none the less…apparently.

    It might be that those that secretly and not so cleverly want to allow such shenanigans are actually considering what their own response might be to similar application of ‘encouragement’…

    They obviously think it works because deep down they know they would crack and spill everything and cannot understand why anybody else would be any different.

    That is why they know…’torture works’

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    The FBI and CIA are full to the gills of people who knew what was going on, and chose not to come forward. Someone leaked the photos of Abu Ghraib. But there were people who cleaned up the shit and vomit, who cooked the meals for the people in cages, who complained to their bosses and requested reassignment, who wring their hands now that it’s too late about the awful things they did or saw — BUT THEY STILL AREN’T COMING FORWARD.

    Like this guy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/opinion/the-torture-report-reminds-us-of-what-america-was.html

    Oh he feels so fucking BAD about what he did. But he writes an article for the NYT saying “there’s more…” BUT STILL ISN’T COMING FORWARD. He’s a fucking coward who’s trying to publicly beat his bosom for his sins WHILE KEEPING THEM COVERED and FACILITATING OTHERS WHO DID THE SAME OR WORSE.

    Every FBI agent who said they saw illegal things AND DIDN’T ARREST ANYONE, as they ARE SWORN TO UPHOLD THE LAW – was in on it.

    Every purchasing agent who approved the acquisition of whatever the fuck they use for “rectal feeding” – was in on it.

    Everyone who knew what was going on in those buildings, who transported the victims, who ignored the screams – was in on it. They’re as bad as the ones who poured the water, because, ultimately they didn’t act out of hate they acted out of cowardice; they didn’t want to lose their jobs and pensions, and drove home in their cars with heated seats and watched television with their families and ate good food and slept in their comfortable beds — while they KNEW that under their aegis, humans were being broken to pieces, suffocated to death and brought back to life then killed again. WORSE THAN THAT when the focus came on what happened THEY STAYED QUIET AND ARE STILL QUIET.

    This is just like the fucking bullshit situation in which The Holocaust magically became the actions of a few SS officers and Hitler and Goering and Eichmann — ignoring the thousands and thousands who drove the trains, herded the victims, profited by the murders — who suspected or knew EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING ON and acted as if it was someone else’s problem. Everyone who went ostrich.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi
  • Michael Heath

    howardhersey writes:

    Actually, torture does work, *if* your goal is to get the tortured to say whatever you want or need him or her to say.

    I suggest reading the report. You’ll find that this is belief is false. That torture repeatedly rendered victims unable to provide any information.

  • matty1

    Torture doesn’t work as a source of reliable information, that is clear. It works fine as a punishment and a means for the more sadistic interrogators to ‘blow off steam’ and I suspect those are the real reasons it gets used.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was not tortured because that was the best way to find out what he knew, he was tortured because somebody wanted to make him suffer in payback for 9/11.

  • Michael Heath

    janiceintoronto writes:

    Everyone will get away with it, because USA! USA! USA!

    Imagine the idiocy of people that would react this way. I could never have predicted in the 1980s that this would be a popular reaction to the U.S. torturing others. And yet, this is the most popular response I’ve observed coming from conservatives since the Senate torture report was released. And not just from right wing pundits, but the right wing sheeple as well.

    Conservative leaders sure have a much easier time keeping their voters in line then other ideologies in the U.S. They can even prep with them rhetoric prior to an event in order to get the favored reaction when the shit hits the fan. The denialism of conservatives continues to astound me.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Torture doesn’t work as a source of reliable information

    Can’t we just be honest about this? It’s a fear-inducing tactic. It’s that simple. You torture people for the same reason you might cut someone’s head off and stick it on a spear. It just screams “don’t FUCK WITH US!”

    The problem is that the people who do that aren’t willing to accept when it’s done to them, in return. I can guarantee you that Americans will be the most pathetic, sorrowful, whining, sad-sacks on earth when our empire falls and someone rises up to grind their boot on our faces. Then it’ll be “why? why? unfaaaaaair!”

  • Michael Heath

    matty1 writes:

    [Torture] works fine . . . as a means for the more sadistic interrogators to ‘blow off steam’ and I suspect those are the real reasons it gets used.

    It’s my understanding that the CIA recruited people to torture and these people were not professional interrogators like the FBI used and the military mostly used (though some big exceptions on the latter). And they paid these people more than professional interrogators.

    I bring this up because if matty1’s speculation was true, it reduces the White House’s complicity in designing and administrating torture. We need to be clear on this, the horrific results reported were consistent with the orders given President Bush.

  • wesuilmo

    And in an extreme example of inappropriate timing. I got a recruiting email from the CIA today.

  • colnago80

    Torture is a good way to get false confessions, reliable intelligence, not so much.

  • MyPetSlug

    Torture doesn’t work as a source of reliable information, that is clear. It works fine as a punishment and a means for the more sadistic interrogators to ‘blow off steam’ and I suspect those are the real reasons it gets used.

    Actually, torture does work in one other very important and reliable way. In a way that’s even more important than possibly gathering intelligence. Its use allows the user to make grand moral claims about “doing whatever it takes keep keep their nation safe.” And it allows one to paint those who oppose it, who are probably your political enemies anyway, as any number of things: more interested in protecting our enemies than our own people, as just not understanding the magnitude of the threat we face, or as showing dangerous weakness that will embolden our enemies,

    There will always be people who will be swayed by these arguments.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    wesuilmo, the Candy Ingestion Association?

  • colnago80

    And in today’s Washington Post, an OPED by John McLaughlin, a former high ranking CIA official, disputing the Congressional report. An example of a fucken lying sumbitch bastard.

  • bryanfeir

    This is just like the fucking bullshit situation in which The Holocaust magically became the actions of a few SS officers and Hitler and Goering and Eichmann — ignoring the thousands and thousands who drove the trains, herded the victims, profited by the murders — who suspected or knew EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING ON and acted as if it was someone else’s problem.

    I am reminded, of all things, of a comic book. (The Desert Peach, for those interested.) Mostly light-hearted despite being set in WWII Africa. For one issue, though, one of the characters, who was already mentally unstable, got briefly tagged for guard duty at a concentration camp before being thrown out again as unsuitable. And then not believed by even other Germans when he tried telling them what he had seen.

    The way the people running the camps were portrayed felt somewhat more realistic than most such portrayals, and as a result was rather more chilling. Not so much sadists and goose-steppers… no, the main person running the camp was a career bureaucrat and accountant who had reduced the people at the camp to nice tidy columns of numbers, and who only got upset when his numbers didn’t line up. The fact that lining up the numbers often involved killing people was something he knew but left to his subordinates to worry about.

    I suspect systems like this pretty much rely on an advanced version of the Bystander Effect to continue working.

  • eric

    matty1:

    Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was not tortured because that was the best way to find out what he knew, he was tortured because somebody wanted to make him suffer in payback for 9/11.

    I tend to agree. Part of the motivation is likely collective punishment or proxy punishment. Plus, a big heaping helping of the classic police logic, ‘the perp is guilty of something, even if its not this, so let’s lock him up on this.’

    Marcus @11:

    Can’t we just be honest about this? It’s a fear-inducing tactic. It’s that simple. You torture people for the same reason you might cut someone’s head off and stick it on a spear. It just screams “don’t FUCK WITH US!”

    No, that’s an incorrect characterization. If you’re doing it for deterrence, you broadcast it. You don’t hide it. Hiding it has no deterrence value. A secret torture program will not induce fear in your enemies.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Eric – it was hardly a secret. They’ve just tried to shield the people doing it, but they were pretty up front about it from the get-go. Which would make sense if the US is a terrorist state. The secret not secret drone wars and assasinations, likewise. The US is trying to rule by scaring the shit out of everyone. We should replace the white house with a concrete replica of Barad Dur and change our flag to the lidless eye of the NSA.

  • Michael Heath

    eric writes:

    If you’re doing it for deterrence, you broadcast it. You don’t hide it. Hiding it has no deterrence value. A secret torture program will not induce fear in your enemies.

    The Senate torture report has numerous examples of the Bush Administration purposefully leaking intel about its use of torture.

  • briandavis

    Raging Bee said

    And the regime that tortured him agrees — based on their experience with him and other US POWs, they explicitly renounced torture as an intel tool. Too bad McSame forgot all that back in his 2008 campaign, when it could have helped a lot.

    Do you mean that with enough torture they could have forced Sarah Palin to say something intelligent?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Sure, if they told her what to say first.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding.

    A side-peeve of mine is movies like “Safe House,” which toss out the same lies just to insinuate them into the viewers’ consciousness without having to prove them. In that case, Our Hero mentions that KSM cracked under waterboarding because his interrogators used the right kind of towels, as opposed to Our Hero’s interrogators, who are just hapless idiots who being the wrong towels before getting killed by the Even Badder Guys.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Part of the motivation is likely collective punishment or proxy punishment.

    Maybe, but in the case of the Bush crew, I think one motivation really was to get information. And they were stupid enough, bigoted enough, and blind enough from fear and rage, to really believe they could do that, no matter what those pointy-headed innelekshals in the regular military said.