Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Chinese Wall

There's a really great Op-Ed at the New York Times by an FBI interrogator, Ali Soufan, who was there at the beginning of "enhanced interrogation". It's well worth checking out in its entirety as it makes some good and obviously authoritative points about how ineffective the methods were, but this paragraph jumped out at me as being a point I hadn't seen mentioned before:
One of the worst consequences of the use of these harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the so-called Chinese wall between the C.I.A. and F.B.I., similar to the communications obstacles that prevented us from working together to stop the 9/11 attacks. Because the bureau would not employ these problematic techniques, our agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.

The FBI completely pulled out of any interrogations of suspected terrorists once the torture started... despite the fact that they were the terrorist experts prior to 9/11... and despite the fact that a lack of inter agency cooperation was one of the big things we were supposed to fix in the wake of said tragedy.