Former CIA station chief challenges claims that torture thwarted terror attacks

Two current CIA officers agree

Milton Bearden, a former Central Intelligence Agency Pakistan
station chief who served at the agency for three decades, says claims
that the Bush administration’s so-called enhanced interrogation
techniques saved American lives are likely false.

The retired senior CIA officer also says that the former
administration’s repeated assertions that attacks were foiled through
torture are hurting US credibility abroad, endangering alliances and
aiding the cause of would-be terrorists.

Bearden, who formerly headed the CIA’s Soviet/East European Division
and served as station chief in Pakistan, Nigeria and Sudan, was a key
figure in the funding and training of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan
during the Soviet occupation. He retired in 1994 but says he has
communicated with contacts who agree they’ve heard of no evidence to
support Bush officials’ claims.

If the Bush administration had proof of a plot stopped by enhanced
interrogation, they would have produced it, Bearden says. “I cannot
imagine that the system would not have leaked such a story,” he
insists. “It would have been leaked in a New York minute.”

Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
publicly defended their harsh interrogation approach last month.
However, the techniques approved by Bush administration lawyers in 2002
appear to be prohibited by both the Geneva Conventions and the United
Nations Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory.

Slapstick plots

Bearden is intimately familiar with the countries that some of the
most prominent terror suspects have hailed from. He dismisses many of
the alleged terror plots which have been made public.

“They dredge up the slapstick plot of the Liberty Seven or the
strange Lyman Faris plot which included a blowtorch,” Bearden said.
“But when asked for something more substantive, the [Bush
administration] retreated behind the screen of protecting sources and
methods. We are told to trust them.”

“When challenged on any aspect of national security,” he added, “the
standard collection of administration acolytes instantly dredged up the
now well known list of interdicted attacks against us.”                                  More………………….

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