If Torture Worked, How Are We Getting By Without It?

Jeff Stein at CQ Politics asks a very good question of former Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.

Stein: What stopped terrorists from attacking for the past five years?

The CIA is said to have relinquished water boarding, roughing up, sleep deprivation and other tough interrogation techniques in 2004, according to most reports.

But between Sept. 11, 2001 and the end of 2004, Cheney claims, terrorist attacks were thwarted by physically abusing detainees in the CIA’s secret prisons.

“Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place,” Cheney insisted.

But what stopped terrorists from attacking after the harsh interrogation techniques were aborted five years ago?

Hmmm. We scared the terrorists (many of whom are suicide bombers) so badly that they decided to quit? Not likely.

Besides, others say, we know the effort the Bush administration put into bolstering its positions and spinning its views with photo ops, selective leaks, coordinated backdrops of key slogans, and backdoor paid P.R. and “news.” So why on earth would they have kept secret that they were not only effectively protecting us but that they could prove it?

…another former CIA official has come forward to dismiss the former vice president’s claims, saying that if the Bush administration had evidence of “torture” stopping attacks, it would have surfaced long ago.

“I cannot imagine that the system would not have leaked such a story. It would have been leaked in a New York minute,” says Milton Bearden, who was a CIA station chief in Pakistan among other assignments during his three decades in the spy agency.

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