Wednesday, April 22, 2009

torture makes for bad public relations...,

WaPo | The administration's chief intelligence officer has told the White House that harsh interrogations of suspected al-Qaeda officials produced "valuable" information, but he added that it is impossible to tell whether the same intelligence leads might have been obtained using less controversial methods.

In any case, the damage to the country's image caused by the use of waterboarding and similar techniques exceeded any potential benefit, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said.

"The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances," he said in a statement yesterday, "but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means."

Blair, Obama's appointee to oversee the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, summarized in the statement an assessment he gave his staff in a memo last week, according to U.S. officials familiar with the document. Blair is a participant in a White House-ordered review of CIA interrogation methods used on high-value terrorism suspects between 2002 and 2006.

"The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world," Blair said in the statement. "The damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

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