Expert: CIA Techniques Were Torture

Author and intelligence expert James Bamford.
Author and intelligence expert James Bamford.

James Bamford is an author and intelligence expert who has written extensively about the CIA. "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric talked with him Monday night about the day's developments related to CIA interrogation techniques and whether these the practices revealed to day were in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.

Bamford: Well, threatening is death is a form of torture. It's considered torture by the United States and the United States has agreed to uphold the anti-torture provisions of the international treaty. So it certainly is a violation, yes.

Couric: Do other civilized nations engage in these methods?

Bamford: Well, I've been following the CIA for a long time and I've never come across any other major westernized intelligence agencies engaged in torture. I haven't come across any, not that they may not be or may be doing it, but I haven't seen any examples of it.

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Couric: What about those who say making threats against a detainee's family is acceptable if it's effective and prevents another massive terrorist attack?

Bamford: Again, the problem here is that eventually these things come out and the United States looks very bad for doing these kind of things and you get to the point where are we creating more terrorism by allowing the world to see us acting in this way? In other words, having more people be angry at us, angry enough to commit terrorism against the United States. So it may be very self-defeating in the end.

Couric: Finally Mr. Bamford, why would the FBI be able to handle these interrogations any better than the CIA?

Bamford: Well, the FBI actually had a very good reputation over the past few years in terms of these cases. While the CIA was engaged in these activities, the FBI was basically protesting against them. So they've shown in the past that they're more adept to handling these things than the CIA.