If so, remember, the question is not whether harsh interrogation techniques ever lead to actionable intelligence, but whether doing so is necessary and appropriate. We believe there are two reasons why the answer is no.
First, harsh interrogation techniques are wrong. Torture is against the ideals we stand for as Americans, and our belief in human dignity. This is why President Obama, with the support of his counterterrorism advisors, has banned the use of such techniques.
Second, there are more effective ways to gain intelligence than by using torture. The use of force undermines the interrogators’ ultimate goal—to elicit useful intelligence—for which you need the co-operation of the subject, not merely compliance.
But don’t take our word for it. In this report, we asked veteran military interrogator Steven Kleinman to explain the difference between effective interrogations in the real world and those portrayed in Hollywood. Kleinman has over 26 years of operational experience. He is a highly decorated veteran of Operations Just Cause, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. He has years of experience handling high-value detainees and has testified on interrogation and detainee policy before Congress. We encourage you to take a look.
Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has waged a relentless campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the central al Qaeda network and kill or capture its senior leaders. By removing key al Qaeda personnel from the battlefield, the U.S. and its allies have largely kept the group off-balance. While we cannot be complacent about the threat, our efforts have degraded the group’s overall ability to plan and carry out attacks here at home.
In this graphic, we have highlighted some of the top al Qaeda figures killed or captured by U.S. or allied forces in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.
Is dealing with Russia the lesser of two evils on Afghanistan and Syria? This Infographic explains.
The major road out of Afghanistan (the Khyber Pass in Pakistan) has been closed since December 2011, after American forces killed 24 Pakistani troops in a border skirmish. Consequently, the U.S. must use the much more expensive and lengthy Northern Distribution Network—which requires permission of many former Soviet states, including Russia.
The exit from Afghanistan is underway, but the debate continues over whether it’s moving too slowly, too quickly, or just about right. President Obama has charted a responsible path to ending our combat role in Afghanistan while maintaining our ability to eliminate future threats. Why?
Support for keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan has declined over the past year among Republicans, Democrats and independents. For the first time in a Pew Research Center survey, as many Republicans (48%) favor removing U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible as support keeping the troops there until the situation is stabilized (45%).
Tonight Third Way is hosting a reception celebrating the publication of Find, Fix, Finish - an important new book by Eric Rosenbach and our very own Aki Peritz.
About Find, Fix, Finish:
On 9/11 the U.S. had effectively no counterterrorism doctrine. Fast forward ten years: Osama bin Laden is dead; al Qaeda is organizationally ruined and pinned in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan; there has been no major attack on American soil; and while there has been at least one instance of a massive planned attack, it was crushed by the greatest international collaboration of intelligence services seen since the end of the Cold War. It’s been a remarkable transformation.
Aki Peritz and Eric Rosenbach have experienced first-hand the monumental strategy changes in our country’s counterterrorism strategy within the intelligence, defense, and political communities. In this book, they explain how America learned to be very good at taking on the terrorists, often one at a time, in ever more lethally incisive operations. They offer new details behind some headlines from the last decade. They are frank about the mistakes that have been made. And they explain how a concept coined by General Grant during the Civil War has been reinvented in the age of satellite technology to manage a globally distributed foe, allowing the U.S. to find, fix, and finish its enemies.