Should the CIA be able to use tactics that many consider to be torture?

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) walks off the Senate floor after speaking about the CIA on March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Feinstein who is Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has accused the CIA of secretly removing documents from computers used by the committee. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The CIA’s report on interrogation techniques, which is more commonly known as the “torture report,” was released Tuesday morning, NPR reports.

The report comes to two major conclusions: The CIA misrepresented the interrogation techniques it was using at secret prisons abroad and it also overstated the techniques’ efficacy. The report details the brutal techniques used on 20 detainees and found that those interrogations led to no useful intelligence.

The CIA rejects those criticisms, saying the Senate report is wrong.

CIA claims that these tactics were approved by White House and Justice Department. They also claim that valuable information was obtained in result of these tactics.

President Obama said he wouldn’t continue use of these tactics, but there is no bar on future Presidents, Carrie Johnson, NPR’s justice correspondent, said in an interview.

She also states in the interview that no one has been prosecuted in relation to the use of these tactics.

Today’s Question: Should the CIA be able to use tactics that many consider to be torture to gain intelligence?

  • Gary F

    Yes. Definitely.

  • Jim G

    No. Positively.

  • kevins

    No! We have the ability to gather information without being cruel. To make matters worse, it would be the torturers that represent us, without us knowing what they are really doing, yet as a society, we are morally accountable for their behavior. We aspire to be better than our enemies. Torture lowers us to their level.

  • Tom

    Teddy Roosevelt threw some Marine in charge of our forces in the Philippines under the bus for waterboarding guerrillas over a century ago. It didn’t pass muster then and it doesn’t pass muster now. It’s a sad state we’re still debating this here and nationally (to be expected with Dick Cheney still kicking).

    A more interesting question might be is it time to boycott networks that feature torture in their scripts of their current programs? This is infuriating and quite likely drives policy through popular culture. Yeah, kids will grow up wanting to become CIA agents that torture, no doubt about it.

  • Sue de Nim

    Absolutely not. I’m still appalled at what was done in our name by the Bush/Cheney administration. If the reason no one has been prosecuted for committing those acts of torture is that government lawyers said they were okay, then the lawyers should be prosecuted for incitement to criminal activity. Other than Obama’s decision not to do that any more, there hasn’t even been an official acknowledgement that those things were wrong. I’d be happier even if Obama would issue a pardon for those acts, because that would at least be an acknowledgement that they were crimes.

  • Nick Theis
  • Pearly

    Can’t wait for the drone report

  • whitedoggie44

    If and when the next attack againt the U.S. is sucessful, all the “no’s” will be asking , why did we not know this attack was coming to America. Who is to blame for this attack? The CIA must be to blame. They offered their prisoners a nice cafe latte but yet no answers were forthcoming. ISIS cut off our heads on video and some water up their noses is cruel? If we are faced with hard choices to protect the homeland and this includes pressure for answers than I vote yes, use whatever works and to hell with what the world thinks.

    • Tom

      Ethics and law, which keep a nation safe from unhinged thinking and extremism in its ranks, do not depend upon what the other guy does, but are defined carefully with historical standards and detailed laws. So if ISIS cuts “off our heads on video” our ethics and our laws keep our nation on course. Ethics aren’t tossed away at the first insult or abuse.

      The Senate report was soft on the Bush administration, because obviously there was a full frontal assault on the law by its lawyers to circumvent ethical standards by simply redefining them.

      • whitedoggie44

        The senate democrats have a short memory. Good luck sharing your latte with terrorist. I am sure you will prevent the next attack.

      • whitedoggie44

        so, my question is if you torture and discover a plan to prevent anihilation of US city, would you torture or let 5 million americans incinnerate? I have no ethical standards when protecting americans from pond scum. cheers to Mr. Bush and I would gladly vote for him a third time.

        • Ralphy

          Following the logic in your scenario, we should immediately round up all the “likely suspects” and torture them just in case they know of a plot. This further assumes that we will obtain actionable intelligence and no false leads. This also grants permission for any enemies to torture any Americans, just in case they know something, with no complaints or recourse by the US, as we have redefined the rules of engagement.

          • whitedoggie44

            your comments make no sense as this is a different kind of war. These people detest americans and would like nothing else than mass destruction and mass casualties. The looney left should be thanking the CIA and the report is nothing but partisan trash. What Americans were tortured? The were foreign terrorists and I firmly believe valuable information was obtained. The looney left will never understand because they hate this country. Good luck talking nice to the people who want to cut off your hear, hope it goes well.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            Your comments make no sense unless you think of “this country” as being the highest good by which all else is measured, instead of recognizing that the country is to be judged against universal standards of justice and morality. What’s unpatriotic about wanting one’s country to live up to its ideals and calling for change when it doesn’t? It’s neither “loony left” nor “ridiculous right” to want one’s country to turn away from ethical lapses of the past and be even more admirable than it already is. The CIA’s torture program has merely been added to a long list of such lapses.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      The fact that others are doing worse things than we’re doing doesn’t make the bad things we’re doing okay.

      • whitedoggie44

        Learn history. Read about the Russians in Lebenon in the 1980’s and why militants dared not kidnap Russians? Sometimes and eye for any eye is the best recourse.

        • Ralphy

          How has that worked out for Israel? They have a scorched earth policy in responding to Palistinians, yet neither side has found peace.

  • Christopher Rosenbalm

    If these tactics on one individual will save the lives of thousands of Americans in the next attack then I say go for it also. I agree with whitedoggie44, when the next attack is successful people will be looking at the CIA and blaming them for not knowing about it. These radical extremist will not give up information by patting them on the back and telling them everything will be ok. I think these tactics should be monitored and the prisoner should have rights and every opportunity to cooperate. But if you don’t then measures have to be taken to save lives. The fact is these tactics work and they save lives. This is how we got to Bin Laden. Also don’t always believe what you hear. Some people have a political agenda just like the reports on shiek Khalid Muhammad. They counted every pouring of water as a water boarding “session”. So it was reported as “183” times. When it was actually far less. Again someone’s political agenda to make the agency look bad.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      It doesn’t matter if those methods work. They’re still wrong. And even if they work in the short run to get information, they’re still harmful in the long run, because it means we’re sinking to the moral level of the terrorists, and because it helps them with their recruitment efforts. Sticking to the moral high ground helps us gain and keep allies and makes it harder for the bad guys to gain and keep followers.

      They think beheading captives is justified because they’re doing it as a way of fighting what they see as a worse evil, which is exactly what you’re doing when you argue argue that torturing captives is justified as part of the effort to fight them. When we torture captives, we’re helping them legitimize their evil deeds in their own minds.

    • Ralphy

      Fact Check – Contrary to Hollywood, torture is not how we found Bin Laden. Take your own advice, don’t always believe what you hear. But do listen to someone who understands the value and ramifications of torture – Senator McCain or General Powell, for example. Ask yourself why would it work? Is it ok to torture 100’s of captives if we think 1 knows something (and there never has been a ticking bomb…)? If they are all tortured, eventually we will get at least 99 false leads, 99 wild goose chases, 99 cases of misspent time and resources going after something that isn’t there, 99 cases of field agents taking risks for no reason.
      If you are ok with torturing our perceived enemy, then you must be ok with our soldiers and agents being tortured. If you are ok with torture, then why not call it torture. Why go Orwellian and call it enhanced interrogation techniques, or even better, EIT? Call it torture, enhanced interrogation techniques or EIT, it’s wrong, and it has a negative strategic value.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No. These methods are not in line with our ideals of justice and humane treatment of our enemies. I realize that individuals in our military and clandestine services have committed atrocities and have tortured prisoners in the past and will likely do it in the future. But, for this to be condoned by officials in our government is unconscionable. Those officials using or authorizing torture should be prosecuted. What is the meaning of the Nuremburg Trials, if we condone these methods?

  • Paul of Tarsus

    Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

  • Tom

    QUOTATION OF THE DAY

    “Imagine if we didn’t go down that road. Imagine. We played into the enemy’s hand. Now we have American hostages in orange jumpsuits because we put people in orange jumpsuits.”

    ALI H. SOUFAN, a former F.B.I. agent who clashed with the C.I.A. over its interrogation tactics.