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Interrogator: Torture Endangers America

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Posted on Feb 25, 2008

Former FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan spills the beans to Foreign Policy Magazine about the techniques he used on top al-Qaida operatives. Cloonan explains that the ticking-time-bomb scenario often used to rationalize torture is a myth and that waterboarding only motivates the enemy to get revenge—even if it takes a generation.

Here Cloonan does a bit of self-interrogation on the methods he used:

In this clip, Cloonan says the TV show “24” has perpetuated a myth about interrogation, and that harsh techniques enhance the reputation of the victim and motivate terrorists:

For more, visit Foreign Policy’s Web site.


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By targitted, February 26, 2008 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do you think staging in South Florida was dumb luck on the part of the 9/11 hijackers?

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By JimBob, February 26, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

People today are so used to receiving their dose of “reality” by watching television or reading Tom Clancy—they are completely unaware of how the writer guides and manipulates and informs his/her audience.  The “ticking time bomb” idea seems entirely plausible to a population that pays little attention to the news outside of Brittney Spears but knows in intimate detail what’s going on with Jack Bauer.  In reality, without an omniscient narrator to connect the dots for them, the idea that investigator/interrogators would have any idea of whom to question/torture in a situation like that is laughable.

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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 7:54 am Link to this comment


Are you suggesting that the DOI is DOA?

Or that the Constitution has lost its…constitution?

Or that the Bill of Rights is a phony Bill of Sale?


Seriously, though, you are right that these are no laughing matters.  Yet the “climate of fear” created by the open-ended (never-ending) “war on terror” has caused most Americans to be willing to sacrifice their freedoms and civil liberties in the name of (an illusory) “safety and security.”  And, sadly, they will probably continue to do so.

A number of animal metaphors come to mind.  Lambs to the slaughter.  Following like sheep.  Acting like lemmings.  Playing ‘possum.

Since we seem to have willingly given up our capacity to THINK (which separates us from all other creatures), perhaps we cannot make any further claim than that we are simply just another animal.


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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment


You obviously still believe the “official story” of 9/11, the evidence for which has been falling apart since Day 1, and has given rise to a belief by almost 50% of Americans that Bush & Co. either knew about it and let it happen, or were themselves complicit in its planning and/or execution.

“19 hijackers?”  This number has been thoroughly discredited, since (i) there was not a single Arab name on any of the flight passenger manifests (nor were they traveling under aliases), and (ii) at LEAST five of the hijackers have turned up alive.

As well, both of the flight schools in Florida used by the so-called “terrorists” were owned by former CIA personnel from Scandinavia, and at least two of the “terrorists” were living with family members of CIA agents in a housing community built specifically for the families of CIA members.

I could go on, but I’ll leave you with that for now.


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By nrobi, February 26, 2008 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

The very idea that you can sit down and have a coffee klatch with these men is abominable to the administration of Duhhhhhhhhbya.  In the mind of the current administration, these men must be hurt for what they have done to ‘Merica!  The people in charge believe that all must suffer, who have attacked and destroyed the very capital of Capitalism.
Yet, here is a man, whom we can trust, a man on the ground, who has interacted with the enemy and helped them to come to the understanding that they can talk and share information. Why oh why, can not this administration understand that torture and killing your enemy while in our custody only emboldens and strengthens the enemies resolve to strike back and further hurt us?  But the Neo-Cons, those of the ilk of Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and the politicians such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz to name but a few, have an distorted and obviously warped sense of reality. For these men and women, have essentially destroyed the foreign policy status of America for the next generation.
Can we afford another 4-8 years of the same policies as we have had under the current administration? Do we need to give up more of our civil liberties to “feel” more secure in our own country? I would hope that the American electorate, would come to their senses and elect men and women who will represent their interests and not those of the multinational corporations that have made their homes in our country without paying for the privilege of being here. My hope is that Americans will say, “Enough Already,” no more of our civil liberties will be given away for our sense of security, we will again take back those rights that have been taken away by fiat of His Royal Highness, King George II. We will no more tolerate those who would give away the horses, barn and land, in exchange for mere pittances of bribes and privileges to “hang” with the moguls of corporate America.
To tie this all in a neat little package, it is corporate Amerikka, which is driving the foreign policy of the current administration. They are as well as the “policy makers” liable for the way, torture and mayhem has been carried out in the name of America. We need a different outlook on the world and this can only come from a complete change of mind and heart, brought about piece by piece, person by person, starting with the top; the president of the US.

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By Expat, February 26, 2008 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

^ future with a healthy, reasonable and non-violent view of information gathering.  He needs to be redacted immediately!

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By purplewolf, February 25, 2008 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment


You mean we still have the Declaration of Independence? Is it still totally intact as it was before the 2000 election? I don’t know how he missed that one unless he never learned about it in school, which is probably the case. We all know that G.W. has destroyed over 80% of The Bill of Rights, not to mention gutting The Constitution. Wow, I find that hard to believe he actually hasn’t destroyed everything by now. Let’s hope he doesn’t find out about it or he will redact that also.

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

“Torture Endangers America.”  Yup.  And if the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act is made law, then we can add two letters: “Torture Endangers Americans.”

It will soon be a crime to recite the Declaration of Independence.

Peace. (ever more distant)

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By PatrickHenry, February 25, 2008 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the Warren comission too (whoevers alive).  I can think of a lobbiest (Abramoff) or two (Abe Foxman).  Lets find out what these pricks really know.

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By targitted, February 25, 2008 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is ironic that an extremely competent, self-aware, professional like Jack Cloonan worked for the NY Bureau Office, all the while 19 hijackers staged in Florida to blow up the World Trade Center, under the watchful ignorance of the incompetents working here in Miami and Tampa. Incidentally, the Phenoix (Google “the Pheonix memo”) and Minneapolis offices (,8599,249997,00.html did outstanding work as well.

Do you think staging in South Florida was dumb luck on the part of the 9/11 hijackers?

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