Interrogating the CIA

Should its role in terrorism cases be reexamined?
By Kenneth Jost, September 25, 2009

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has asked a career federal prosecutor to reexamine evidence of possible abuses by Central Intelligence Agency operatives years ago in the questioning of “high-value” terrorism suspects. The CIA's role in interrogating detainees has been controversial because the agency used so-called “enhanced” techniques, including waterboarding. Under President George W. Bush, the Justice Department approved the harsh measures even though many critics said some amount to torture. President Obama has now barred the use of the techniques, but former Vice President Dick Cheney is among those who say the practices yielded valuable intelligence that helped keep the country safe after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. A newly released internal CIA report documents several apparent abuses during the interrogation program. The release of the report is said to be hurting morale at the CIA even as it prompts renewed calls for a broad investigation of the Bush administration's policies in the war on terror.

The Issues:
* Should CIA agents be prosecuted for exceeding interrogation guidelines?
* Should the CIA be allowed to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” when questioning “high-value” detainees?
* Should Congress authorize an in-depth investigation of past detention and interrogation practices?

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