Torture lovers, the CIA and the Weekly Standard: not everyone gets paid for merely “Acknowledging the Obvious”
After analysis, the CIA, who tried the torturing, are obviously unconvinced that it works. But, hey, who the hell are those useless wallflowers, right? Everybody push aside, here comes The Weekly Standard:
Acknowledging the Obvious
Is the mainstream media coming around?
The Washington Post has an important front-page story this morning, with matter-of-fact reporting on the importance of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as an intelligence source and the enhanced interrogation techniques that made him talk. The piece is headlined: "How a Detainee Became an Asset: September 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding." [see Marcy whack this WaPo crap]
Scoop. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured. And he talked. No, I’m not going to post the hundred thousand links that pre-date this report. So the only question that’s ever been relevant is whether brutalizing him was the one and only thing we could have done to succeed in extracting useful information. Seeing as how it’s such an animal way for a nation to behave, it’s an important question.
One key source is former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, who acknowledged that two of the CIA’s “most powerful” enhanced interrogation techniques “elicited a lot of information."
"Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," he said in an interview with the Post.
Helgerson authored the 2004 IG report that the Department of Justice released on Monday. The evidence presented in the IG report made clear that EITs had been effective, but Helgerson, well-known inside the CIA as an opponent of the program, stopped short of making that claim in a declarative fashion.
Well, when the guy from the Agency tasked to write the report isn’t so hot on it, it gets my attention.
In his interview with the Post there seems to be a subtle shift in his argument. In the IG report Helgerson had written that “measuring the overall effectiveness of EITs” is challenging and a “subjective process.”
In his interview with the Post, Helgerson narrowed the reasons he gave for his reluctance to draw conclusions. Count the qualifiers. Helgerson said he was not in "a position to reach definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of particular interrogation methods" and that “we didn’t have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out."
That’s straightforward. They had no way to judiciously assess the information they got from all the squawking to stop the violence. Torture always gets people to talk, everybody knows that. They’ll tell you the truth and lies and everything you ever wanted to hear. This guy seems to think that talking = "win".
But that kind of analysis misses the point. The fact Helgerson didn’t perform such a study hardly prevents us from concluding that EITs were effective.
What? Yes it does. Unless you’re just an angry sonuvabitch who wants to break people.
It is not the effectiveness of “particular interrogation methods” that matters. It’s whether the EITs were effective used together, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes sequentially. And they were.
What, you lump all the ‘techniques’ together and the truths suddenly pop out? Like holograms?
Naw, it appears that one human being, paid to write lies, figured out that all the shit the post-tortured KSM said was previously concretely unavailable but dead true, rare and perfectly accurate, without question. Yeah, wingnut who writes for the Weekly Standard knows better than the guy the Agency burdened with the analysis. That’s why the intellects at The Weekly Standard exist: to redirect CIA officials about their own analysis of their own secret affairs.
“The huge reason the program was successful was because the detainees did not know what to expect,” says one intelligence official with detailed knowledge of the program. “Sleep deprivation, forced nudity, dietary manipulation, the waterboard – all of these together created a feeling of utter helplessness and cluelessness.”
Certainly, this random WS source is unimpeachable. No doubt he heard KSM say to him directly, "Gotta tell ya, buddy, I feel helpless and clueless."
Helgerson says something else important. He acknowledges that EITs, particularly sleep deprivation and waterboarding, “elicited a lot of information” but he laments his inability to assess the quality of that intelligence. And the quality does matter. If EITs simply elicited lots of bad information nobody would consider them effective. They didn’t.
HA. "They didn’t consider them effective." Strange turn of tone, but okay. Once again, how this guy trumped the CIA’s determination of the accuracy of its elicited confessions is a mystery.
Bzzlouhrgle, here’s the rest. How this guy has the chutzpah to write anything, considering his serious lack of honesty and attachment to reality, is mysterious as well. With the WaPo ‘article’ (*cough*), this is the caliber of stuff that’s turned a corner of the internet upside-down today? The web’s overrun with hysterics, I guess. Wow.
[cross: thump and whip]