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Cheney Calls for Release of ‘Torture Works’ Memos


Former Vice PresidentDick Cheney isn’t satisfied with the release of the latest batch of Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel torture memos by the Obama administration last week. Now, he says, the government should release morememos — this timenot just the ones describing the torture, but also the ones that say how successful it was.

“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort,” Cheney saidin an interview with FOX News’ Sean Hannity aired Monday night.

Well, if there are memos showing that torture and the CIA’s other “extreme” interrogation techniques were successful, I’d like to see those, too — all of them. Including the ones that show that detainees like Abu Zubaydahgave up the most important information they had beforethey were waterboarded — and nothing of much useafterwards. And while we’re at it, let’s see the proof that the techniques were successful — that the information these torture victims offered actually turned out to be reliable.

As I pointed out yesterday, whether policymakers had strong, convincing evidence that these techniques were actually going to deter the next terrorist attack is critical to the legal analyses that justified them. If the CIA didn’t have very good reason to believe that sticking a guy in a box with insects or slamming him repeatedly against the wall or depriving him of foodand sleepfor days at a time would yield critically important information, then the whole legal justification about how this was all done for a very important governmentpurpose quickly falls apart. (Set aside for a moment whether these sort of techniques could ever really be considered legal standing on their own.)

So Cheney’s right: if there are memos demonstrating the CIA’s success, bring them on — let’s see all the relevant evidence and then see just how legal and justified it all was.

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