Which is a great justification as long as you ignore the fact that, as the torture program went into effect, FBI and military interrogators, using non-coercive techniques, were already getting high-quality “actionable” intelligence from detainees like Abu Zubaydah, who actually stopped producing useful information after he was tortured. Ali Soufan, the FBI agent who interrogated Zubaydah, told a 2009 Senate hearing that the CIA’s harsh techniques not only didn’t work, they actually set back the investigation of what Zubaydah knew. And we still don’t know why the CIA and the Bush team decided to shift from conventional methods of interrogation — which were working — to torture, which didn’t work.
Maddow interviewed Soufan Thursday night, following a brief introductory segment on the inexplicable CIA decision. You may want to purchase Mr. Soufan’s book — to read, or to hurl at the next person who says that if we didn’t torture, we might as well have been giving terrorists a comfy chair and a cookie.