A professional evaluation of the C.I.A.’s claims [about the effectiveness of the harsh interrogation techniques] would have to examine these cases to sift and weigh the contributions. The Senate Intelligence Committee is embarking on an important effort to sort out the claims and counterclaims.
What the committee may well find, after all the sifting, is that the reports were a critical part of the intelligence flow, but rarely — if ever — affected a “ticking bomb” situation.That "rarely -- if ever" brings the reader up short. Tell us, please, if there was such a situation. But whether the techniques were effective or not, Zelikow argues that the U.S. Army's anti-al-Qaeda program in Iraq, which complied with international standards, was highly effective as well. As for the CIA's program, allies and even the FBI kept at arms length because they couldn't or didn't want to be associated with practices that smacked of torture. From studying Sept. 11 closer than anyone, Zelikow knows all too well what happens when intelligence gatherers aren't working togeteher.