Interrogating Torture

Interrogating Torture

"Those who argued for these tactics were on the wrong side of the debate, and the wrong side of history. That's why we must leave these methods where they belong, in the past..." 

– President Obama, speech at the National Archives, May 2009

The tactics in question, water-boarding and the CIA's other harsh interrogation methods, have come back from the past to haunt Washington yet again. President Obama let the skeletons out of the closet by releasing Bush Administration memos that detail the justification and use of these methods to grill suspected terrorists. This reignited the debate over how to define torture — and how far is too far when it comes to keeping Americans safe. Other democracies, from Israel to Britain, have wrestled with these questions when tackling their own terrorist threats.

While Washington grills former Bush Administration figures over their policies on torture, we explore cases from Northern Ireland to Israel on coercing true confessions. And we question an expert panel on whether you can thwart terrorism through torture, and where to draw the legal lines. 

Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producers: Monica Bushman, Sean D. Carberry, Matt Ozug, Monica Villavicencio and Chris Williams / Interns: Megan Nemeh, Nadia Shairzay and Ann Thomas/ Image: Javier Barrera.

The Treatment of Enemy Combatants

Ray Suarez traces the history of the debate over the status and treatment of enemy combatants.
Featuring Jonathan Bush, Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia University's School of Law.

Israel's Policy on the Interrogation of Palestinian Detainees

Ray Suarez looks back at the evolution of Israel's policy on the interrogation of Palestinian detainees.
Guests include Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B'Tselem, a human rights organization based in Jerusalem and Yehuda Shaffer, former Assistant Attorney General in Israel's Ministry of Defense.

Field Report from Ireland and the UK

Sean Carberry travels to Belfast and London, to look for lessons from the British experience of interrogating IRA militants during the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Guests include Colm Campbell, Professor of Law at the University of Ulster; Michael Culbert, Director of the Committee on Behalf of Political Ex-Prisoners; William Smith, Development Worker for the Ex-Prisoners Interpretive Center; Sean O'Callaghan, former member of the Irish Republican Army; and John Grieve, former London cop and Senior Research Fellow at Portsmouth University.

Discussion on Interrogation Practices

Ray Suarez moderates a discussion on the legality and efficacy of interrogation practices under the Bush Administration.
With David Luban, Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University and David Rivkin, Partner at Baker Hostetler, an international law firm.