The Washington Post reported (November 4, 2006) that the Bush administration told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the alternative interrogation methods that their captors used to get them to talk1.
The Bush administration cited fears that released prisoners may reveal operational/interrogration details or clues to others, thus thwarting the ability to discover plots and methods.
The new court filings asked to even deny the detainees’ own attorneys to hear how their clients have been interrogated. This makes the ability to defend detainees extremely difficult. When the concept of innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trial is paramount, this conflict between national security and rights of detainees seem to conflict.
However, in the light of the various torture scandals that have marred the Bush administration’s image lately, this filing can also be criticized for attempting to cover up the use of torture (or alternative interrogation methods).
Torture is known to be a useless tactic in many cases to illicit information because people will say anything—including admitting to things they have not done—in order for the pain to stop. If more examples of US torture were to come out this way, it could pose a security threat to the US in the sense that some angry people, in places like Iraq, may retaliate with violence and lash out against US targets.
Of course, one way to counter that threat is to not torture in the first place.
Scott Horton, Chair of the International Law Committee at the New York Bar Association, was asked by Democray Now! for his reaction to this, and responded:
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