Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Torture Produces Unreliable Information
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.), the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1988 to 1991, weighs in on last night's ABC interview in which former agent John Kiriakou contended that the waterboarding of a detainee produced valuable intelligence. According to Soyster, the effectiveness of torture isn't so clear:
"Experienced military and intelligence professionals know that torture, in addition to being illegal and immoral, is an unreliable means of extracting information from prisoners. Much is being made of former CIA official John Kiriakou's statement that waterboarding "broke" a high-value terrorist involved in the 9/11 plot. There are always those who, whether out of fear or inexperience, rush to push the panic button instead of relying on what we know works best and most reliably in these situations. I would caution those who would rely on this example. It is far from clear that the information obtained from this prisoner through illegal means could not have been obtained through lawful methods. The FBI was getting good intelligence from this prisoner before the CIA took over. And there are numerous examples of cases where relying on information obtained through torture has disastrous consequences. The reality is that use of torture produces inconsistent results that are an unreliable basis for action and policy. The overwhelming consensus of intelligence professionals is that torture produces unreliable information. And the overwhelming consensus of senior military leaders is that resort to torture is dishonorable. Use of such primitive methods actually puts our own troops and our nation at risk."