CIA Director Michael Hayden spilled the beans and admitted that three detainees were waterboarded:
"We used it against these three detainees because of the circumstances at the time," Hayden told the Senate Intelligence Committee. "There was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were inevitable. And we had limited knowledge about al Qaeda and its workings. Those two realities have changed."This takes a bit of parsing, and perhaps I should go search out the context. It would make more sense if he used the word "imminent" instead of "inevitable".
Hayden said Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002 and 2003. Hayden banned the technique in 2006, but National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell told senators during the same hearing Tuesday that waterboarding remains in the CIA arsenal - so long as it as the specific consent of the president and legal approval of the attorney general.So all of this did come from the very top?
Scott Horton has a brilliant essay on torture at Harpers. Can we just adopt a limited use of torture-lite? Not according to Horton:
Torture is a virus which cannot be effectively controlled. If permitted at all, it will undermine the integrity and worth of humanity in any society in which it is let loose. It is the ultimate social agent of corrosion.On the TV program "24":
And the single program which has done the most to champion torture is “24,” an adrenaline-packed show in which torture occurs every day. In American popular culture, torture used to be something that was done by the Nazis, by the Soviets and Chinese in the Cold War. Americans were its victims, always standing steadfast against the evil that it embodied. But in the Fox Network vision of torture, Americans use it, they do so for patriotic purposes—to save thousands from attacks which would occur were torture not used—and, wondrous to relate, torture always works. So torture is now the favorite tool of the good guys. There is absolutely nothing coincidental about this.There are a bunch of gems in this essay. It's fairly long, but when you have 15 or so minutes, I highly recommend reading it in its entirety.