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November 18, 2008

'When presented with the choice of getting smarter or getting tougher, we chose the latter.'

Opinion piece by Glenn L. Carle in the Boston Globe

It was the fall of 2002. I was about to participate in the interrogation of a top-level member of Al Qaeda. At my CIA briefing, I was told “to do whatever was necessary” to get the man to talk, as he could very well lead us to Osama Bin Laden himself.

I immediately went to see one of the CIA’s lawyers for I feared I knew what was meant by “whatever was necessary.” The lawyer’s guidance was clear: The administration redefined torture to mean only “serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” I was stunned. This undermined 800 years of Western law, from the Magna Carta to the Geneva Conventions.

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