Speed Reads

Torture: It's bad

Former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan calls Bush-era torture a 'disaster'

In 2001, the Lebanese-American FBI agent Ali Soufan was probably the finest anti-terrorism specialist in the entire U.S. government. He led the investigation of the USS Cole bombing, and when the 9/11 attacks happened, he was the only agent in all of New York City who could speak Arabic.

Both within the FBI and outside of it, he has been a fierce critic of the Bush-era torture program. At an awards speech two years ago he was scathingly critical, particularly of Jose Rodriguez, who destroyed the video evidence of the program:

[Enhanced interrogation techniques] were designed by bureaucrats with no experience with al Qaeda, by people who had never met a terrorist, let alone interrogate one. Unsurprisingly it ended with disaster: false leads were chased, real opportunities were missed, and justice was never served... Those behind this calamity destroyed the interrogation tapes — the evidence of their failure, the evidence of their unprofessionalism, the evidence of their incompetence. But while those people may have escaped official censure, history has damned them. [YouTube]

It's a valuable perspective as the nation waits for the Senate torture report to be released. --Ryan Cooper