“Torture” Memo Release: The CIA Will Pay the Price; And Thus Our Security?

“We knew that, like almost everything else in Washington, the program would eventually be leaked and our Agency and its people would be inaccurately portrayed in the worst possible light.”

Those words were written by former CIA director George Tenet. Two years ago, in his book “At the Center of the Storm,” Tenet predicted the controversy that has now engulfed Washington. The new revelations regarding the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques has captured the nation’s attention with the Obama administration’s release of the Bush Justice Department’s secret memos on interrogation.

Near the end of the Korean War, I was an interrogator in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps, trained to extract information from the targets of our investigations by developing relationships with them. I was taught that using force resulted in questionable intelligence.

But decades later, I was in Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and I saw the anxiety that overtook the city after the loss of 3,000 lives in the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon. Friends and colleagues spoke openly of their fears of another attack and purchased gas masks and duct tape to secure their homes. Imagine the atmosphere in the White House, where, one month earlier, the president had received a CIA briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” FBI Director Robert Mueller, new on the job, told Post reporters and editors at a luncheon several weeks after the attacks that there may be as many as 100 al-Qaeda cells inside this country.

Read the rest by Waler Pincus
The Washington Post



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