In a statement released Thursday, the Central Intelligence Agency unequivocally denounced all use of torture on suspected terrorists unless the suspects might know something important.
“The United States has a complicated history of enhanced interrogation, we will not deny,” wrote C.I.A. Director John O. Brennan in the release. “But let us be slightly clearer: the days of torturing suspects are over, if the suspects definitely don’t know anything we want to know.”
The statement marks a new era in U.S. enhanced interrogation strategy, with the C.I.A. exempting all alleged terrorists from torture except for those who could have information that might prove useful to national interests. “If we have no need for any kind of intelligence, those in custody can and will enjoy all the benefits of the same torture-free lifestyle as is protected in almost every other developed nation,” Brennan continued.
Sources confirm that human rights activists around the country are cautiously optimistic about this development. “Torture is off the table, unless the C.I.A. wants to know something that the suspect could know,” says Amnesty International attorney Camilla Rodriguez. “Even extraordinary rendition has been condemned in situations where nothing is at stake. This is progress, plain and simple, I think.”
Many of these changes come after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 6,000-page report detailing U.S. torture tactics between 2001 and 2006. As a response, the C.I.A.’s new stance declares that all U.S. personnel found to be using torture to extract information will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, unless the information that the suspect might have includes names, locations, relationships, travel history, or recent purchases of people that the C.I.A. wants to learn about.
At press time, the C.I.A. had released a second statement conceding, “Torture is sometimes okay, but definitely not when it’s used by bad guys on good guys.”