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Who's Politicizing Intelligence Now?

Obama's intelligence chief admits the value of tough interrogations.

12:00 AM, Apr 22, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Despite such sentiments, Obama's executive orders will undoubtedly rein in the C.I.A. Waterboarding, for instance, has gone the way of the rack, now that the C.I.A. is strictly bound by customary interpretations of the Geneva Conventions. This decision, too, was the result of intense deliberation. During the transition period, unknown to the public, Obama's legal, intelligence, and national-security advisers visited Langley for two long sessions with current and former intelligence-community members. They debated whether a ban on brutal interrogation practices would hurt their ability to gather intelligence, and the advisers asked the intelligence veterans to prepare a cost-benefit analysis. The conclusions may surprise defenders of harsh interrogation tactics. "There was unanimity among Obama's expert advisers," Craig said, "that to change the practices would not in any material way affect the collection of intelligence."

That's interesting: "top CIA officials have argued for years that so-called 'enhanced' interrogation techniques have yielded lifesaving intelligence breakthroughs," but the team of "expert advisers" from Obama's presidential campaign apparently knows better.

All of this leads to one obvious question: Who needs intelligence professionals when you have campaign advisers?

Stephen F. Hayes, a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, is the author of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (HarperCollins).