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January 31, 2013

Slate: The case for torture

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

7. Enhanced interrogation was useful as an implicit threat.

Hayden said only a third of the detainees required enhanced interrogation. But he acknowledged that "the existence of the option may have influenced" the rest.

8. The library rationale withered.

The detainees' value as constantly accessible sources didn't mean they could be kept forever. They were human beings, too, and this created political and international problems. Over time, their intelligence value sank below the PR cost of keeping them at black sites. "When I became director in 2006, I concluded that, number one, we are not the nation's jailers," said Hayden. "We are the nation's intelligence service. And so there just can't be an endless detention program." Accordingly, he transferred a dozen detainees out of CIA custody, "not because their intelligence value had become zero . . . but because the intelligence value of most of them had edged off to a point that other factors were becoming more dominant in the equation."

9. The library became less necessary as we developed other sources.

Hayden said he re-evaluated the program in 2006 based in part on the declining need for it: "How much more did we know about al Qaida now? How many more human and other intelligence penetrations of al Qaida did we now have, compared to the where we were, almost in extremis, in 2002?" There was less need to keep the human books on the shelf, now that the CIA could download information through other channels.

10. Enhanced interrogation liberated detainees from religious bondage.

Rodriguez said detainee Abu Zubaydah eventually "told us that we should use waterboarding . . . on all the brothers," because

the brothers needed to have religious justification to talk, to provide information. However, they would not be expected by Allah to go beyond their capabilities [of] resistance. So once they felt that they were there, they would then become compliant and provide information. So he basically recommended to us that we needed to submit the brothers to this type of procedure. . . . As a matter of fact, it would help them reach the level where they would become compliant and provide information.

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