Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, has written an editorial in The Washington Post defending the agency’s so-called “enhanced interrogation” program.
The CIA came under fire last week after a 6,300-page Senate report condemned the CIA for misleading the U.S. government for years about the brutal treatment employed at various CIA black sites.
Rodriguez, who was in charge of the program, believes it worked well and was fully justified. Although Rodriguez admits he has not read the Senate report, he implied the lawmakers who wrote it didn’t fully know what they were talking about. From his op-ed:
When we captured high-ranking al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaida in 2002, we knew he could help us track down other terrorists and might provide information to allow us to stop another attack. Those who suggest we should have questioned him more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives.
Writing in The Washington Post, Rodriguez justified the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA through three points: 1) The program was built against the backdrop of the September 11 terrorist attacks and other security threats; 2) The program effectively produced actionable intelligence that saved American lives; 3) The program was judged legal by the Justice Department.
According to Rodriguez, this absolved the CIA of wrongdoing. Still, the agency has employed some tactics such as waterboarding that many people consider torture.
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