From the NYT, of all places:
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”
A spokeswoman for Admiral Blair said the lines were cut in the normal editing process of shortening an internal memo into a media statement emphasizing his concern that the public understand the context of the decisions made in the past and the fact that they followed legal orders.
“The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. “The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”
That last part was no doubt added to please President Obama, but let me make a slight correction to part of it: The revelation of these techniques by (mostly) liberals and so-called “human rights” groups have hurt our image around the world. No wonder this info was originally redacted from the memos released last week.
Put that in your pipes and smoke it, “concerned” liberals.
Seriously. Can you imagine wasting an opportunity we have to get valuable information to stop a terrorist attack on our own soil because we’re worried some terrorist might not get enough sleep?
On President Obama’s openness to prosecuting Bush administration officials for approving so-called “torture techniques”:
“Obama is saying there’s an open question as to whether Justice Department lawyers can be prosecuted for providing legal opinions. It’s time to resurrect that old meme about ‘criminalizing politics’.” – Campaign Spot reader
On that note, does this mean Obama would be open to prosecuting key Congressional Democrats who knew of the US practice of waterboarding back in 2002 … and didn’t object?
Inquiring minds want to know …