Thursday, March 17, 2005

Porter Goss Defends Interrogation Policy and Disavows Torture

By DAVID STOUT
‘Torture is not, it's not productive,’ he went on. ‘That's not professional interrogation. We don't torture.’

“The head of the Central Intelligence Agency today defended interrogation techniques used to combat terrorism while asserting that the United States does not practice or approve of torture.

‘Professional interrogation has become a very useful and necessary way to obtain information to save innocent lives, to disrupt terrorist schemes and to protect our combat forces,’ the C.I.A. director, Porter J. Goss, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

‘Torture is not, it's not productive,’ he went on. ‘That's not professional interrogation. We don't torture.’”

He said the information gleaned from the questioning of prisoners captured in Iraq and Afghanistan had saved innocent lives and led to the capture of terrorists. But he emphasized, ‘The United States government does not engage in or condone torture.’

Mr. Goss's appearance before the panel came amid persistent controversy over the C.I.A.'s handling of terrorism suspects, especially the practice of turning over prisoners to other countries where torture is winked at or is even standard practice. Critics of the practice, sometimes called ‘rendition,’ say it makes the United States complicit in these activities.

Between 100 and 150 terror suspects are believed to have been flown by American authorities to Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and other countries for questioning, supposedly after those countries had given assurances that the people being questioned would not be tortured.

When Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the panel, asked Mr. Goss about his agency's policy toward ‘rendition,’ Mr. Goss demurred, saying he preferred to discuss it in closed session.

When Mr. Levin pressed him on how vigorously the C.I.A. checked complaints from people who have been subjected to ‘rendition,’ the director replied, ‘Again, this is the kind of question that is complicated and would need to be answered in closed session.’

‘But I can assure you,’ he went on, ‘that I know of no instances where the intelligence community is outside the law on this.’

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/17/politics/17cnd-intel.html
con·cept: Porter Goss Defends Interrogation Policy and Disavows Torture