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CRF Blog » Blog Archive » Dianne Feinstein’s flawed torture report

CRF Blog

Dianne Feinstein’s flawed torture report

by Bill Hayes

In Dianne Feinstein’s flawed torture report for the Los Angeles Times, law professor John Yoo, who authored the so-called “torture memos” justifying the Bush administration’s harsh interrogation techniques, criticizes the Senate report on torture.

Three reasons persuaded us to approve waterboarding. First, Al Qaeda terrorists were not POWs under the Geneva Conventions, because they fought for no nation and flouted the laws of war by killing civilians and beheading prisoners (such as Daniel Pearl). Second, the U.S. armed forces had used it in training tens of thousands of officers and soldiers, without any physical injury or long-term mental harm. Finally, the United States had suffered the deaths of 3,000 civilians and billions of dollars in damage; we knew little about Al Qaeda, and intelligence indicated that more attacks were coming, perhaps using weapons of mass destruction.

Even under these extraordinary circumstances, the CIA would use harsh interrogation on only Al Qaeda leaders thought to have information about pending attacks — in the end the CIA approved the waterboarding of only three Al Qaeda leaders. [more]

For a related free classroom lesson, see Is Torture Ever Justified? from our Bill of Rights in Action Archive.