Friday, February 12, 2016

Detainee Interrogation Chief: Waterboarding Doesn't Work

A detainee holds onto a fence as a U.S. military guard walks past. Brennan Linsley / AP.
By Carrie Johnson, NPR
Originally published on February 12, 2016, 8:12 am

The director of the federal government team that interrogates key terrorism suspects has a message for people who want to see a return to waterboarding and other abusive strategies: They don't work.

Frazier Thompson, who leads the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, said research demonstrates that "rapport-based techniques elicit the most credible information."

In an interview at FBI headquarters this week, Thompson added: "I can tell you that everything that we do is humane, lawful and based on the best science available."

Thompson spoke as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling for a return to simulated drowning and other interrogation techniques that critics have likened to torture. The FBI said it was taking the unusual step of making the head of the High-Value Interrogation Group available to counteract the idea that it has operated in "clandestine and nefarious" fashion when it questions suspected terrorists.

President Obama created the interrogation group to bring together elite interrogators from the FBI, the Pentagon and other intelligence agencies in 2009. Fewer than 50 people work there permanently, but authorities said they have the ability to bring in part-timers as needed.

(More here.)

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