No Proof Torture Stopped Terror Attacks

CIA Inspector General's Statements Undercut Cheney Claims

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has requested the release of two CIA reports which he claims will strengthen his assertions that the torture of detainees helped thwart terrorist plots, but already released memos from the CIA inspector general point out that there was no conclusive proof that the harsh interrogation tactics helped the Bush Administration thwart any “specific imminent attacks.”

As early as July 2002, the Pentagon’s chief lawyer had cautioned against the use of torture, saying that it not only produced “unreliable information,” but might also provide a justification for the torture of captured US personnel.

In particular, Abu Zubaydah had providing much valuable information before the interrogators started mistreating him, and the torture produced “no breakthroughs,” according to officials. Not only that, but watching the detainee suffer itself caused considerable distress to the interrogators.

Interrogators began in 2002, and were initially designed to produce some evidence of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government as a justification for a war. Though no evidence was ever found, the policy continued long after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The recent release by the Obama Administration of several of the torture memos has provided the American public for the first time a glimpse of the extent of the torture, though President Obama has dismissed calls to hold any interrogators accountable for their actions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.