Terrified of al Qaeda’s capabilities post-9/11 US turned to torture: Stratfor

Lahore, Apr 22 : The US was so terrified of al Qaeda's capabilities post-9/11 that the then Bush Administration expected follow-up attacks at any moment and was forced to turn to torture due to lack of intelligence about the terrorist organisation activities, Stratfor, the global think tank, has said.

The report, by George Friedman, states the government had also received intelligence indicating al Qaeda might have a nuclear weapon, but they had no idea whether those scraps had any value. At one point, the report noted, then president and vice president were continually kept at different locations to maintain security.

Collecting intelligence, thus rapidly became the highest national priority, the report notes. No action in pursuit of intelligence was out of the question, so long as it promised quick answers, leading to the authorisation of torture, the Daily Times reported.

Friedman said this raises a moral question: Should the US adhere to respecting human rights, or should it do its best to protect the physical security of the US "against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

President Bush did not know that torture would work, but he clearly did not feel that he had the right to avoid it.

However, what the intelligence community failed to consider was that post-9/11, situational awareness was needed, not specific information. Torture thus was not a precise solution to a specific problem: It became an intelligence-gathering technique.

Not only did the US not know what it needed to know, it had to follow many false leads due to the addition of torture. In addition, the report notes, torture applied by anyone other than well-trained, experienced personnel only compounds the problems, and makes the practice less productive.

Defenders of torture frequently seem to believe the person in custody is known to have valuable information, and that this information must be forced out of him.

Torture thus becomes not only a waste of time and a violation of decency, actually undermining good intelligence. This is especially true when people tell you what they think you want to hear to make torture stop.

However, defending the torture, the report states that critics of torture seem to assume the torture was brutality for the sake of brutality instead of a desperate attempt to get some clarity.

According to Friedman, Bush's mistake was not knowing when to move beyond the emergency. He states in the report that if you know that an individual is loaded with information, torture can be a useful tool. (ANI)