Citations of Success

Well, today President Obama continued his campaign against his old foe, George W. Bush. We now learn that Obama is Open to Probe, Prosecutions of Top Officials Over Interrogations. He claims that releasing the memos will make the US safer, although it is difficult to see how the release does not embolden the enemy.

Much has been made of the memos, the Justice Department, and specifically the Office of Legal Counsel. One might get the impression that the memos were written by summer interns, in crayon, on a single sheet of paper, that say something like “Torture is okay”. But what are called “memos” by the media are lengthy legal arguments. For example, the four “secret memos” released on April 16 are, respectively, 18, 46, 20, and 40 pages in length. The memos contain footnotes, case citations, and all the legalese that is expected by a profession with a nice hourly rate. For example, see the memo of May 30, 2005. Included is this brief passage

The “waterboard”, which is the most intense of the CIA interrogation techniques, is subject to additional limits. It may be used on a High Value Detainee only if the CIA has “credible intelligence that a terrorist act is imminent”, “substantial and credible indicators that the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt, or delay this attack”, “and [o]ther interrogation methods have failed to elicit this information [or] CIA has clear indications that other…methods are unlikely to elicit this information within the perceived time limit for prevent the attack.

Sounds reasonable to me. More than reasonable, really. Also in today’s Washington Post is an opinion piece by Marc A. Thiessen that make the case that The CIA’s Questioning Worked (contrary to popular belief). Thiessen points out that the memo of May 30, 2005 cites many instances where attacks were thwarted, including a planned attack on the tallest building in Los Angeles and the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (mastermind of 9-11 and murder of Daniel Pearl). Thiessen complains that even more citations of successes have been redacted in the memo. For example, a large redacted portion begins

We discuss only a small fraction of the important intelligence CIA interrogators have obtained from KSM.

I look forward to the full disclosure of the lives saved and plots foiled that are attributed to the harsh interrogations. I suspect that Obama will rue the day that he caved to the loony left on this issue.

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