How Not To Torture (Covering the Experts)

It must have been, um, agony maintaining the required poker face of detachment while writing the “straight news” account for the Washington Post or any news outlet of yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing (including such revelations as what a CIA counterterrorism lawyer “told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at Guantanamo” in October 2002: That torture “‘is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.’”)

Meanwhile, a Post colleague with the latitude to add a little something extra to his coverage began with this:

If ever there was a case that cried out for enhanced interrogation techniques, it was yesterday’s Senate appearance by the Pentagon’s former top lawyer…

In two hours of testimony, [former Defense Department general counsel William J. “Jim”] Haynes managed to get off no fewer than 23 don’t recalls, 22 don’t remembers, 16 don’t knows, and various other protestations of memory loss.

It was an impressive performance, to be sure. But let’s see him try to do that with a hood over his head, standing on a crate with wires attached to his arms.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.