There are various ways in which the laws and legal limitations have affected the use of coercive interrogation techniques in the United States. After the September 11th, 2001attack on the United States twin towers by suspected al-Qaida terror group, there emanated philosophical and political debate as to the applicability, effectiveness or justification of the use of torture to get information from detainees (Evans 53). After the attack, the US was accused of using extreme torture on the suspected terrorists who had been detained in military camps. Though they misled the senate and the government in general, they were aware that the use of torture to get the required information was not giving the necessary result. The claims by the department of defense that the act was not bearing fruits nor giving positive results was confirmed. As a result of this, the department of defense undertook investigations that led to the establishment of standards and guidelines that would ensure proper approaches and techniques were used by the investigators and were abided by. The Bush administration at the time faced criticism from the human right activists on their application of torture on the terror suspects. It was found out that many people arrested in connection with the terror gang both in America and in Iraq were subjected to harsh treatment in detainment. The public therefore started debating on the effects and effectiveness of the torture rule in public domain leading to public outcry. The aim of the debaters was to find out whether the use of enhanced interrogative techniques could be used entirely, or they could be prohibited, or whether being a lesser evil and in certain situations, could be used to get information that would otherwise destroy the community (Posner and Adrian 5-7).
Following these guidelines, the United States department of justice drafted a memo titled the “Torture memo” (Parry 176). This memo was then sent to detention camps including in Guantanamo and was implemented in 2003 thereby suspending the previously used interrogative methods that were under public outcry (fdfdf). Despite this law being implemented, a legal counsel by the name John Yoo wrote his opinion indicating that the implemented laws or the laws that had been passed did not apply to those investigators and interrogators who were working overseas including the Guantanamo detention camps and those in Iraq (gddg).
With the laws implemented and the legal limitations in place, the US has been able (though not fully) to apply better methods of combating lawful and unlawful enemies in a manner deemed to be safer, just and that which is not overdue or meaning to harm the detainee. The federal government has been able to implement interrogation standards that should be applied in any given case when interrogators and military are in a combat zone or are fighting terrorists. The laws also refrain and prohibit the force and interrogators from using unlawful force or abusive techniques in all their missions both locally and internationally. In regard to this, the FBI conducted investigations into the alleged misuse of interrogation technique and their findings were given to the relevant departmental agencies for specific investigations and action. The CIA detention and investigation program that was carried out had concluded that the use of enhanced techniques was effective since it enabled the identification and the capture of other terrorists, warned of terrorists plot, helped verify other detainees information as well as providing information on the terrorists operations (al-Qaeda). There was however not sufficient evidence that was able to lead to the capture of the mastermind or Osama. The information was therefore not unique, in some instances was not accurate, and was not able to help in gaining cooperation from the other detainees.
Upon the implementation and application of standard rules and techniques that interrogators and the military ought to use when retrieving information from detainees, locally and abroad, various legal constraints were derived from such application (Taylor 31-4). The legal constraints led to the loss of tactic physical torture on the detainee. This has the implication that the detainees or the suspects may refuse to give the necessary information in regard to a given case since they are under no duress to do so. The instant strikes as reported to some extent led to the detainee opening up and giving the necessary information regarding the criminal activities in questions. Hardened criminals may not open up unless force is applied and this being the case, failure to apply excess intelligence technique like torture would lead to failure to disclose other group members, activities, and potential threat of the group. Despite this fact, torture as a means of retrieving information especially valuable information should be advocated for if the use of force could lead to the avert of an impending attack/threat on the US and its affiliations. Despite the challenges of not using physical torture to get information, the legal constraints have helped increase the required knowledge and skills to handle a given case (Kleinman 1577). It has also enabled the interrogators and other military personnel’s learn other means of interrogation that do not use coercion to get the necessary information (Pfiffner 127-33).
Evans, Rebecca. “The Ethics of Torture.” Human Rights & Human Welfare 7 (2007): 53.
Kleinman, Steven M. “Promise of Interrogation v. the Problem of Torture, The.” Val. UL Rev. 43 (2008): 1577.
Parry, John T. Understanding Torture: Law, Violence, and Political Identity. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press, 2010. Print.
Pfiffner, James P. “the efficacy of Coercive Interrogation.” Examining Torture. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2014. 127-157.
Posner, Eric A., and Adrian Vermeule. “Should Coercive Interrogation Be Legal?.” Michigan Law Review 104.4 (2006): 671-707.
Taylor Jr, Stuart, and Benjamin Wittes. Looking Forward, Not Backward: Refining American Interrogation Law. Brookings Institute Working Paper, Washington, DC, 2009.