Petraeus pushes special interrogations
WASHINGTON -- Gen. David Petraeus, President Obama's choice to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told senators on Thursday that the United States should consider a policy for using special interrogation techniques when a detainee is withholding information that is immediately needed to save lives.
In the vast majority of cases, Petraeus said, the "humane" questioning standards mandated by the Army Field Manual are sufficient to persuade detainees to talk. But while he did not use the word torture, Petraeus said "there should be discussion ... by policymakers and by Congress" of something "more than the normal techniques."
Petraeus, speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee, described an example of a detainee who knows how to disarm a nuclear device set to explode soon under the Empire State Building. Congress may want to give the president the option of taking extraordinary measures to extract that information, he said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., endorsed the idea.
"I look forward to working with you on this ticking-time-bomb scenario," said McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. "I think the person responsible should be the President of the United States . . . I do agree with you."
The comments were noteworthy because they came from two men opposed to interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that were used by the CIA in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Obama banned the techniques when he took office.
Petraeus, who said he opposes torture generally because "it's the right thing to do," expressed his preference for capturing rather than killing al-Qaida militants, while pointing out that the CIA currently neither holds nor interrogates detainees.
A vote on his nomination is expected before July 4.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NWS: Heavy rain coming our way this afternoon
- Steelers’ Pouncey investigated in alleged assault
- McCutchen homers twice in Pirates’ extra-inning win
- Senate leader Reid steers push to turn Nevada into renewable energy mecca
- Pirates’ McCutchen might be National League’s most cost-effective star
- As suicides spike, new Pa. law to start prevention efforts in 6th grade
- LaBar: Kurt Angle preparing for WWE return
- Pirates notebook: Similarity found in Alvarez throwing errors
- Despite challenges, ride-sharing operations flourish
- Love for shoes an ‘affair that never ends’
- Many college freshmen need remedial work, often delaying graduation, increasing costs