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.