National Clandestine Service chief reports no post-torture fall-off in intelligence

The head of the National Clandestine Service, a 30-year CIA veteran, reports no fall-off in intelligence since the Obama Administration ordered an end to torture.

Given that, I’m not sure why he thinks there’s a tension between our values and national self-protection. And I’d be against torture even if I thought it worked.

But it’s good to know that the professionals don’t agree with Cheney, Krauthammer, and their fellow sadists. Unfortunately, sadism and cowardice seem to be popular with the voters right now.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

6 thoughts on “National Clandestine Service chief reports no post-torture fall-off in intelligence”

  1. I see three possibilities:

    1. Torture isn't particularly effective. (I find this quite plausible.)

    2. We weren't torturing all that much to begin with.

    3. We've outsourced a lot of torture, so that we can claim we're not doing it anymore. (Alas, I do find this plausible, too.)

  2. "2. We weren’t torturing all that much to begin with."

    Considering how much we were known to have done, and how easy it is to keep it secret, and how casually the US government treated the known and public cases, I'd disagree with that a lot.

  3. You'll note that's NOT the option I labeled plausible. Just threw it in for completeness' sake.

  4. The question was about waterboarding, which hasn't been used since 2003. I'd expect that abandoning a technique that hadn't been used in 5 or 6 years wouldn't have much effect.

  5. Brett Bellmore says:

    "You’ll note that’s NOT the option I labeled plausible. Just threw it in for completeness’ sake."

    I agree with you there. It's pretty f*cking likely that the US simply hands over a prisoner with one hand, and a list of questions with the other hand, and then declares the two hands' work to be separate.

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