Friday, April 26, 2019

the last book I ever read (The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe, excerpt five)

from The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe:

Obama believed the War on Terror had led the U.S. in the wrong direction. Like many Democrats (and many others), he believed the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, amounted to outright torture and had compromised our values as a nation. He also believed that forms of interrogation that fell short of “enhanced” were ultimately more effective. Many Republicans, but by no means all, saw the War on Terror from a different angle. They believed all terrorist suspects, including U.S. citizens, should be treated as enemy combatants—with no rights or constitutional protections. They believed the military and the intelligence agencies should use whatever interrogation methods they thought would get results. The ends justified the means.

Three days after Obama’s inauguration, he signed Executive Order 13491—“Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”—which established a task force to evaluate the federal government’s interrogation and detainee-transfer policies. The next document he signed, Executive Order 13492, ordered the closure of the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. The first policy documents of the new administration, these orders became choice targets for Obama’s political opponents. Most congressional Republicans would not have cared if the executive orders had been blank, or filled with Holy Scripture. As Obama’s first forays into counterterrorism policy, these orders were bound to be condemned for political advantage.

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