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February 03, 2010



fundamentally neither of these organizations is set up to actually investigate dangerous conspiracies

Nah. See, the military is set up to deliver disaster relief, and the intel community is set up to leak damaging info on Republican administrations. What would the military know about danger, or the CIA about conspiracies?

as an investigative technique “convince the guy’s family to convince him to cooperate” isn’t quite as bad-ass as “use Khmer Rouge torture tactics against him.”

I'm heartened that the political environment is such that progressives in this country have to ape opposition to at least the fallen progressive regimes in other countries. I wonder how easy it will be to gain cooperation from families, given that the idea that the WTC attacks were an inside job is nearly as popular in the Muslim world as it is in the Democratic party.

Mike Myers

I would have approached Mr. "Gave my balls for Osama on Christmas Day" with an experienced CIA interrogator, and a set of good guy bad guy tag team of old school Detroit cops with rubber hoses or worse within about 15 seconds after he got off the plane, and kept at it until he was absolutely wrung dry of information. If it took six months to a year to get it all, so be it. Then you could Mirandize him. Who do these clowns think they are kidding?


Actually, it appears that the main function of the US military according to the present regime leaders, is to insure repeal of the DADT, and to insure diversity of its member so that no anti-America American feels the need to enforce his personal jihad with automatic weapons aimed at Americans. Meanwhile, the US intel community has been completely dismantled at the top.


Attorney General Eric Holder To The Rescue, Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory!


Mike Huggins

"blood-soaked manner preferred by the right"

Amazing. Lambs to the slaughter.


bgates, psst*you really are my favorite* Don't tell the others.


I heard they cut the guy a deal..as for Matt, what makes this fool think that these people even care if we have black sites or whatever..after all if they had their way there would be no democracy, no Geneva Conventions, none of that.

Mike Huggins

Kornblut at the WP:
"He (Holder) continued: "The criminal justice system has proven to be one of the most effective weapons available to our government for both incapacitating terrorists and collecting intelligence from them. Removing this highly effective weapon from our arsenal would be as foolish as taking our military and intelligence options off the table against al-Qaeda, and as dangerous."

You just have to be amazed at the total brilliance of this administration.


So true, Mike. It shows you what you get when you are staffed with people who never worked a day in private sector or left the groves of academe. Dummies who can talk in whole, mellifluent sentences and let us see how stupid they really are.


Just out of curiosity, what do we do with the terrorists we Mirandize whose mommy or daddy would rather put on some of those PETN panties him or herself than talk their little bambino into singing for mr. Holder?

Seems to me there are considerably more of the former than the latter.

Danube of Thought

For those who still harbored any doubt, Holder's comments make it crystal clear that these people are invincibly ignorant. Heaven help us.


Don't we all feel better now, knowing, once again, that the system worked?


Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said: "I can't think of a reason that (briefing) would happen other than political cover."

Oh, to have actual journalists who'd ask Gibbs to respond to that.


Using his own rationale, Holder was as responsible for Marc Rich's pardon as Clinton, since he didn't oppose it. I hope Mueller, Panetta, Gates and other admin folks realize they can't vote present and avoid blame.


For those who still harbored any doubt, Holder's comments make it crystal clear that these people are invincibly ignorant. Heaven help us.

Weapons-Grade Stupid in my book. Even that is being generous...


Actually, DoT, they are vincibly not invincibly ignorant.

Cecil Turner

Of course, what the right was calling for was the use of the military tribunals approved by Obama (including for KSM) and the interrogation techniques limited to the Army Field Manual, also as approved by Obama.

Personally I have no problem with anything up to and including waterboarding (though I do think it was probably counterproductive in use on our own troops and am gratified that one of the less-publicized fallouts of this debate is that it has apparently been discontinued). But that really isn't the issue. Where Matt (and the left in general) fail logically is the false dichotomy of torture vs. Miranda. Even limiting to the Army Field Manual provides greater flexibility, not less.

Moreover, the assertion that everyone will tell false stories under coercive interrogation is ridiculous. And it's less a problem with military intelligence gathering (where assertions can generally be checked) than with beating confessions out of criminal suspects. If the alternative is to wait while the subject clams up, I fail to see the downside of a little EIT.

Danube of Thought

I continue to maintain that this guy Yglesias is so stupid that he is never seen anywhere unless TM quotes him on this blog.


How could that be, DoT? His official bio says this: "Yglesias was born and raised in Manhattan and studied philosophy at Harvard where he was editor in chief of The Harvard Independent, a campus alternative weekly."

A New York sophisticate who majored in Philosophy at Harvard and you think he's *gasp*"stupid"?


Ah, Clarice playing favorites again, I've never met Mr. Yglesias, but I have dealt with him at the comment boards of the Atlantic blog and yes, he is


Hey, I'd VOTE for the guy that says he's gonna handle the jihadis in a "blood-soaked manner". That is exactly why I send monthly letters to our honorable warriors and tell them thank you, thank you, thank you,....

JM Hanes

From PD's link on the Holder letter

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday he made the decision to charge the Christmas Day terror suspect in civilian court rather than the military system, with no objection from all the other relevant departments of the government.

In a letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, the attorney general wrote that the FBI told its partners in the intelligence community on Christmas Day and again the next day that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would be charged criminally.

One wonders what Holder means by the "relevant departments" and the FBI's "partners," since everyone from the DNI down said that they were not consulted about the decision. I believe that included Mr. Mueller, didn't it? Which makes me wonder who Holder means when he says "the FBI." Somehow I don't see a field agent phoning it in to Napolitano.


Timing is everything. A you-know-what-storm hits the Administration from both sides of the aisle, and suddenly, we have new actionable intel. Right...
Oh, and Matty--I guess you're right about the kinder, gentler approach. All we need to do is find the mommy and daddy of every bastard trying to kill us, so they can come to the States and convince the monsters they spawned to cooperate...yeah, that'll work.


Re:JM Haynes' post:
The "relevant departments" were the pro bono and civil rights departments at Covington & Burling. As for the FBI's "partners" in the intelligence community...who knows? Would it have been too hard for our AG to identify the agencies that were "partnered" with the FBI on this? At least then someone could check the veracity of the statement.


I don't know about that, I came across a later from Papa Aulaqi, the former agriculture
minister, and he refuses to believe that junior is a terrorist, despite you know the


You're suggesting the Obama administration would waterboard mommy and daddy in the next room to get junior to talk?


LUN via Instapundit...Muslim chaplain smuggled box-cutter blades into jail

Looks like Muslims are into the "blood-soaked manner" idea too.


Hahaha...from that article. They point out that previously a Rabbi had gotten in trouble for bring in other things."...son of an inmate. The bar mitzvah featured catered food and a live band,..."


From Doug Ross

"AG Eric Holder: I decided to charge crotch bomber as a criminal but only because my law firm needed a new, celebrity client"

Bonus question #1 Knowing your client is going straight back to his jihad as soon as you can get him released; Is there a difference between donating pro bono legal work and just sending cash to a terrorist group?

Bonus question #2 How many of the DOJ people have provided pro bono services to terrorists?

Ari Tai

Yglesias forgets that the FBI is not an intelligence agency, rather it is 99/100ths a law enforcement agency where each office actually works for the local U.S. Attorney - whose career rises and falls based on arrests and convictions in high-visibility cases, not good intelligence reports. Nor is there any interest in running honeypots to trap (and run for decades) the next crooked politico or their aide (think ABSCAM) while on the hunt for terrorist funding sources (on the odd chance a real adversary will pull on that string). The U.S. Attorney has no patience with rumor or suspicion in his or her case-files, only inarguable facts, those that will convince 9 of 10 defense attorneys to accept a plea-bargain (else the U.S.A will never clear his outstanding workload).

And Matt likely does not know that the only place where foreign and domestic intelligence actually can be integrated and acted upon per our laws is at the President’s desk - given we-the-people have not had the will to create an internal security service of the same character as every other 1st world country - with the same (secret) access to our private information as these other countries have, and the ability to combine that secret information with foreign intelligence all in the interest of protecting us, and of necessity keeping everything they know secret (save for our representatives’ review, who we have to trust will also keep our secrets). Granted, when those secrets by necessity document political corruption (and foreign influence in political process) the political class has to suck-it-up for the greater good. Note that this isn’t a new problem for the intelligence mission (think Coventry). But it is near impossible for law enforcement.

This will all end badly.

Mike Huggins

On that WP story I linked to earlier, it looks like the Post has gone all out to make some revisions and watch the President's and Holder's back...

Now, it's - new and improved - "By Scott Wilson AND Anne E. Kornblut", and also we have "Staff writers Carrie Johnson, Walter Pincus and Michael A. Fletcher; polling director Jon Cohen; and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Sorry guys, damage done.


``the assertion that everyone will tell false stories under coercive interrogation is ridiculous.''

But no one has asserted that.

It doesn't matter that some of what people being tortured says happens to be true. What matters is that enough of it is false. Enough so that the reliability is unacceptable.

And then there's the problem of what torture, or, if you prefer the Orwellian term, "coercive interrogation'' does to its perpetrators. Some say it can corrode the moral core. I'd be inclined to agree.


What matters is that enough of it is false. Enough so that the reliability is unacceptable.

How much is that? How much of the information given in the absence of coercion is false?

torture, or, if you prefer the Orwellian term, "coercive interrogation"

I prefer the term "torture" for torture and "coercive interrogation" for coercive interrogation. I suppose that's more Orwellesque than Orwellian; he was fond of clarity in language.

Some say it can corrode the moral core.

Is that what happened to John Edwards, William Jefferson, Kwame Kilpatrick, Rod Blagojevich, Norman Hsu, Roland Burris, Chris Dodd, Charlie Rangel, Tim Geithner, Monica Conyers, Sheila Dixon, Elliot Spitzer, and the many worse thieves, charlatans, and demagogues who improbably retain the public trust?


I'm kinda' bored and all so I'm considering going out and indescriminately murdering a couple Chinese here in Guangzhou tonight, but then once I get arrested I won't talk until they invite my Granny over from the States for a free Dim Sung dinner.

I'll let you guys know how well I didn't talk after they've electro-shocked my particulars, did the bamboo trick under the fingernails, and sausagized my Johnson--- you know, all that other stuff that only makes criminals tell lies.

I'm not singing like a bird until I'm Mirandized by Dung Zao-Ping hisself.


``How much is that? How much of the information given in the absence of coercion is false?''

Since we're talking about the kind of information that might, eventually, call for putting men in harms way and/or killing civilians or worse, might be crucial to heading off a terrorist attack that could kill many thousands, I think that if you were using a technique that had a failure rate of more than 10 percent, you'd want to find a better way.
Fortunately, there is a better way, and the consensus of law enforcement and military interrogation specialists alike is that non-coercive interrogation is more effective.
I've noticed that some rightists have trouble separating the concept of effective interrogation from deterrence and punishment. There seems to be a sense that if someone is being interrogated, they also deserve to be punishment as a matter of retribution and of deterrence.
Extrajudicial retribution should be a separate argument -- and one I suspect few torture supporters are equipped to take on.
If we take away the desire for extrajudicial punishment, then there really is only the question of effectiveness. What is the best way to get information from terrorist suspects or accessories.
All this talk about how its import to be seen as ruthless gives up the game that the actual outcome of the interrogation is beside the point for some people.


Ah yes, the old Sadist Torturers vs. the Good Guys movie again. Too bad the boring plot writes itself.

[Sadist]: Lemme at him, boss! ::snarl:: ::drool:: I'll get him to talk!

[Good Guy]: Now, now, Igor. Not until we get him cleaned up and access to an attorney. If we have to lose a few hundred people as a result, well, at least we didn't lose our humanity.

Cue 1000 blog comments.


the actual outcome of the interrogation is beside the point for some people, for instance the administration, who are more interested in keeping up appearances for their friends at Davos than in protecting American lives.

the consensus of law enforcement and military interrogation specialists alike - wot's all this then about "military interrogation", and by "specialists" no less? I thought the great advantage of the FBI was that it actually conducts investigations, unlike the military. Heard that from the horse's mouth. Well, one end of the horse or another.

Say, if there's consensus among law enforcement and the military about what works, what's the harm in applying the interrogation techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual?

I've noticed most leftists have trouble separating the concept of their ass from a hole in the ground.


I think that if you were using a technique that had a failure rate of more than 10 percent, you'd want to find a better way.

What is the "failure rate" of coercive interrogation? How do you define the term "failure rate"? What is the failure rate for non-coercive interrogation?


bunkerbuster - Perhaps you could enlighten the Muslim chaplain that was smuggling in box cutters to a prison about a corroded moral core.

Malaysia Jane

How about the Muslim chaplain at Vanderbuilt who concurred that all practicing gays should be executed? Let's talk about his moral code.


Yeah Jane...like Instapundit said luckily he wasn't a Baptist, or it would be a national scandal.





You're a dumbass.

What is the best way to get information from terrorist suspects or accessories.

I'll bore everyone again:

Nosair, after he was convicted of assassinating Kahane and was serving time in upstate New York, conspired with the World Trade Center plotters, including the Sheik Abdel-Rahman, from his jail cell.

After the first round of World Trade Center bombing suspects were tried and convicted, the SDNY needing to round up the more serious terrorists cooked up, with the help of an agent provocateur, the "Day of Terror" plot, which eventually resulted in the conviction of Sheik Abdel-Rahman. While he was sitting in prison and with the help of his lawyer, he planned and ordered the Luxor masscare in Egypt with killed about 60, mostly foreign, tourists.

In 1998, with the round up of terrorists following the East Africa Embassy bombings, Mahmod Salim an Iraqi born, German resident al Qeada member, was arrested in Munich and sent to the US for trial. While awaiting trial in the US, he assulted 2 prison gurads, blinding one. And as no lead goes investigated and no dot connected, his contacts with the Hamburg cell went uninvestigated and undiscovered until after 9/11.

As you can see the law enforcement approach doesn't deter or prevent terrorist activities even when the terrorist is sitting in jail, post-trial, pre-trial, or during trial.

Note, these are the ones I can recall from memory, and with a bit of digging, I can find more. I was thinking that the East Africa Embassy bombings had similiar defects with the law enforcement method-suspects with information were questoned before a grand jury, others were arrested on minor charges (guns and immigration), and still, al Qeada was able to bomb both our embassies.


Bravo JOM's! The magnificant takedown of the intrepid blunderbuster troll was just a beautiful thing. I no longer have to wonder why JOM is so seldomly infected with these peanut brained trolls.


``the law enforcement approach doesn't deter or prevent terrorist activities.''

The record shows it does. Obviously, the success rate is below 100 percent. You can say the same for every anti-terror strategy. Or perhaps you think you have one that's guarantee to work 100 percent of the time. If so, let's hear it.

Bottom line is: terrorism is impossible to deter or prevent without fail. That should go without saying, yet your position rests on the assumption that in order for a strategy to be viewed as successful, it must never fail.

If you think invading other countries, or using torture to extract confessions or ethnic and religious profiling are better strategies, perhaps you'd be able to bring on some data demonstrating that?

I can see that, indeed, torture/invasion/profiling would make some people FEEL better, but there are no data showing they actually work better.


An exhaustive study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence College shows torture doesn't work. The report was sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Intelligence Technology Information Center, and the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity. It examines all of the existing social and behavioral science studies on effective interrogation. These studies make a number of critical findings:
• Virtually no research on torture and other coercive interrogation techniques indicates that these techniques produce accurate, useful information from unwilling sources.
• Most personal accounts and anecdotes of those subjected to torture and coercive interrogation techniques indicate they are not effective.
• Stress and duress techniques adversely affect cognitive functioning, in particular the ability to recall and produce accurate and helpful information, making it difficult to elicit factual information.


And it's hard to argue with the case in which U.S. military personnel beat a suspect to death. While that may make some of you FEEL safer, or satisfied in some weird way, it's beyond dispute that no information was obtained from the corpse.

"Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex "admissions" that take still longer to disprove."
- CIA Training Manual, KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation (July 1965), p. 94

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