WaPo reports Friday evening that in July 2002 the military agency which provided information and advice on enhanced interrogation techniques to be used against terrorism suspects referred to the employment of tactics which caused “extreme duress” as “torture” and specifically stated that the use of such techniques would result in the attainment of “unreliable information”.
But the [Joint Personnel Recovery Agency’s] two-page attachment, titled “Operational Issues Pertaining to the Use of Physical/Psychological Coercion in Interrogation,” questioned the effectiveness of employing extreme duress to gain intelligence.
“The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible — in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life — has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture,” the document said. “In essence, physical and/or psychological duress are viewed as an alternative to the more time-consuming conventional interrogation process. The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate information. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption.”
The Washington Post, emphasis mine
Image taken directly from the JPRA memo
Operational concerns of harsh interrogation techniques included:
(U) As noted previously, upwards of 90 percent of interrogations have been successful through the exclusive use of a direct approach, where a degree of rapport is established with the prisoner. Once any means of duress has been purposefully applied to the prisoner, the formerly cooperative relationship cannot be reestablished. In addition, the prisoner’s level of resolve to resist cooperating with the interrogator will likely be increased as a result of harsh or brutal treatment.
(U) For skilled interrogators, the observation of subtle nonverbal behaviors provides an invaluable assessment of the prisoner’s psychological and emotional state. This offers important insights into how the prisoner can most effectively be leveraged into compliance. Further, it often enables the interrogator to form a reasonably accurate assessment of the prisoner’s veracity in answering pertinent questions. The prisoner’s physical response to the pain inflicted by an interrogator would obliterate such nuance and deprive the interrogator of these key tools.
(U) The key operational deficits related to the use of torture is its impact on the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. If an interrogator produces information that resulted from the application of physical and psychological duress, the reliability and accuracy of this information is in doubt. In other words, a subject in extreme pain may provide an answer, any answer, or many answers in order to get the pain to stop.
JPRA memo, emphasis mine
So here we have a military agency referring to harsh interrogation tactics as torture and warning that they don’t work, either because they increase the prisoner’s resistance to the interrogator, or because they coerce the prisoner into giving false information “in order to get the pain to stop.”
And the Shrub administration ignored it.
And will someone please shut Sean Hannity the hell up? Waterboarding for charity? Look, I’d like to see Hannity tortured as much as anyone, but this isn’t a joke. He’s trivializing the practice. Being waterboarded for a few seconds for charity by your buddies in a controlled environment when you’re completely free to make the motion to STOP is a far cry from being waterboarded repeatedly by a bunch of strangers in a prison cell, locked away from your family and friends, not knowing whether you’ll ever see them again, and uncertain whether your
interrogators torturers might let you drown this time. If he goes through with it all I can say is, I hope he’s one of the ones they have to trach. At least that might shut him up for a solid 10 minutes. I am disgusted.