Enhanced Interrogation? The Dubious Legal Rational Behind America’s Use of Torture in the War on Terror
In December 2014, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report known as the "CIA Report," which exposed the Central Intelligence Agency's evasion of oversight in its detention and interrogation programs. The report revealed that CIA officials had provided misleading information to Congress and the President, including the use of unauthorized "enhanced interrogation techniques" on more detainees than previously reported. It also highlighted the ineffectiveness of these techniques in gathering intelligence on al Qaeda and the War on Terror. The report confirmed what many had argued for years: that these programs, euphemistically referred to as "enhanced interrogation," were poorly executed, legally questionable, and ineffective. The release of a formerly classified memo further condemned the actions of the CIA, armed forces, and U.S. Departments of Justice and Defense as morally reprehensible, making them one of the worst policy decisions during the War on Terror. Despite criticism, little action has been taken to prohibit such conduct, although former-President Obama did outlaw torture as an interrogation method. However, the legal justifications for torture remain uncertain, raising concerns that the U.S. may backtrack on its promises to prevent torture. Efforts to revoke executive orders banning torture have already been observed. This article argues that the U.S. legal system still lacks a clear condemnation of torture under any circumstances, and by debunking the arguments supporting torture, it aims to expose their fallacy.