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Obama Intelligence Director: ‘Bush-Era Interrogation May Have Worked’

cia1.jpgFOX News reports: The Obama administration’s top intelligence official privately told employees last week that “high value information” was obtained in interrogations that included harsh techniques approved by former President George W. Bush.

“A deeper understanding of the Al Qaeda network” resulted, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said in the memo, in which he added, “I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past.” The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo.

Critics of the harsh methods — waterboarding, face slapping, sleep deprivation and other techniques — have called them torture. President Obama said Tuesday they showed the United States “losing our moral bearings” and said they would not be used while he is in office. But he did not say whether he believed they worked.

Obama ordered the release of long-secret Bush-era documents on the subject last week, and Blair circulated his memo declaring that useful information was obtained at the same time.

In a public statement released the same day, Blair did not say that interrogations using the techniques had yielded useful information.

As word of the private memo surfaced Tuesday night, a new statement was issued in his name that appeared to be more explicit in one regard and contained something of a hedge on another point.

It said, “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.”

The emergence of Blair’s memo added another layer of complexity to an issue that has plagued the Obama administration in recent days.

The president drew criticism from Republicans last week for releasing the Justice Department memos that outlined the legal basis for waterboarding and other techniques. At the same time, some Democrats and liberal groups have expressed disappointment that he signaled his opposition to possible legal action against senior officials who had approved their use in the first place.

On Tuesday, the president told a reporter it would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder to make such a decision.

Blair, in his memo to employees in the intelligence community, wrote: “Those methods, read on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009, appear graphic and disturbing. As the President has made clear, and as both CIA Director Panetta and I have stated, we will not use those techniques in the future.

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past, 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.”


8 Responses

  1. כל המרחם על האכזרים סוף שיתאכזר על הרחמנים
    Those who show mercy for the cruel will ultimitly be cruel to the merciful.

  2. well there’s an oxymoron, obama & intelligence!! Ha! we haven’t seen too much intelligence coming from him yet.

    of course it worked & the obamanation knows it too! he is just trying to rid us of what he feels are the “constraints” of the constitution.

    a street thug is a street thug is a street thug is a street thug is a street thug …

  3. Wolfman

    In your reply to my post in a previous article you considered my post as a “bombast” ! Well what do you think now? You don’t treat thugs with “kid gloves”. Even when the methods used won’t fit in with the new White House agenda…

  4. And yet, knowing this, Obama has decided not to use any of these methods any more. Thus, he has condemned to death all the people who could have been saved by such information, which will no longer be obtainable. Had he been president eight years ago, there would now be a hole in LA to match the one in Manhattan.

  5. Thank you Yeshiva World for keeping us updated on this Islamic fundamentalists treachery. Wolfman / Rebshalom you probably would have initially greeted Nazism as a welcome “change”.

  6. Obama and intelligence an oxymoron? I guess if one does not see things the way I do, they are not bright? That, in and of itself, is a thoughtless statement. Obama is highly intelligent. It is a fact. While he is certainly not status quo to either party, he is all we have now to resurrect America’s fall during the past eight years. Sure, it was Clinton’s fault, but Bush/Cheney made things countlessly worse than during Clinton/Gore. Anyway, Obama will succeed as he is, in fact, a very bright man. Some of his measures and philosophies may be needed during America’s current state of emergency.

  7. If torture — or stories of torture — inflame thousands to become terrorists, then the ultimate value of the information learned through such interrogation is probably not worth it. That position assumes that the information learned from torture is reliable. Senator McCain — a victim of torture in North Vietnam — says he knows from first hand experience that the victim will tell his interrogators what they want to hear, whether it is true or not, just to get the pain to stop. That means sometimes the info is credible and just as often, if not more, it is not. Finally, we have to acknowledge that while there is a solid point in showing no merciful to the cruel, what about the innocent? Some prisoners we tortured turned out to be innocent of any crime, but you know that their experience had transformed them into supporters of the enemy.

  8. Veryinteresting: I agree that if anyone can resurrect America’s fall, Obama has the intelligence to do it. But…Bush may have merely accelerated what was inevitable — the sprialing decline in American power and prestige around the world. As Jews, we’ve hitched our wagons many times before to empires only to watch them turn to dust at the will of the Yad Kodesh. We survived all of those outcomes because our role on this planet is different than those nations who strive to be #1 in material terms.

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