Air Date: March 29, 2006 56 lines.
Moussaoui continuing today.
Moussaoui stunning the court yesterday when he testified he was supposed to pilot a plane on 9-11 and ram it into the White House.
Moussaoui was arrested August 16, 2001 just about a month before the September 11th attacks and he's now admitted to lying about his involvement in 9-11 so the attacks could go forward.
So would 9-11 have been prevented if we had simply tortured Moussaoui to get the truth out of him?
Let's ask the host of War Stories, Lt.
What do you say?
Torture, no, David.
I don't think you can find anybody in the government of the United States, military, FBI, the intelligence services, who would say that torture is a good idea.
Let's just, you and I agree on the term, harsh interrogation methods.
How far does that go?
In other words, threats.
If you don't answer me, I'm going to take you out and shoot you.
In other words, the threat articulated in a way that... You know, the UN might call that torture.
Well, some people would, but that, by the way, is not banned by any convention that we're a signatory to.
The difficulty with this guy Moussaoui is, one, he was apprehended before 9-11.
He has spun so many different stories at this point.
He's now really undermining the prosecution case for the death penalty.
But Colonel, let's say he's telling the truth.
This one time that he had information that could have prevented 9-11 before it happened.
Would we have been justified in torturing the guy to get that information out?
Not if you're going to prosecute him.
I mean, the real difficulty here, and this goes back to the heart of this whole debate over NSA wiretapping, over what kind of surveillance we're allowed to use.
If it's for foreign intelligence purposes to prevent something, you have a lot more latitude than if you're going to go ahead and then prosecute them.
The difficulty with the whole Moussaoui case was, it began as a foreign intelligence operation.
The FBI agent who was in charge of it testified to that.
It then turned into a criminal prosecution.
At that point, a lot of the evidence you've gathered leading up to this, and I'm certainly no lawyer, but a lot of the evidence gathered up to that point is no longer relevant in a trial, and that's what you've got right now with this guy who has proven, I think, that he's got a lot of different stories to tell, he's very proud of the role that he's
No, there's a lot of bragging going on and so forth, but let's take it a step further, and it's not unreasonable, as I'm sure you'd agree.
What happens if we had information that a nuclear weapon was going to go off?
We had in our hands somebody who we thought could tell us where that nuke was going to go off.
Would we be justified in that case in torture?
I think the evidence shows, broadly, and this goes for military interrogations as well as intelligence operations, David, that as a general practice, torture does not work
And the evidence that's been certainly collected in places like the Hanoi Hilton, where I'm going to be in just a few more weeks in Vietnam, proves that torture itself does not get the kind of information or divulge the kind of information.
Somebody who was in the Hanoi Hilton, John McCain, agrees with you.
He says torture doesn't work.
And I think broadly, most people agree with that.
Harsh interrogation methods, but again, the kind of information you're extracting under those circumstances may be no more valid than what we're hearing from
War Stories is all about conflicts that have happened in the past.
You're an expert in that.
The French, didn't they use torture effectively to find the jackal, the guy that was going to kill the President of France?
The rumor is, and according to some of the reports that were rendered, yes.
And there have been lots of stories about other intelligence services doing that.
So it does work sometimes.
One of the reasons why it's difficult to send some of these characters back to their countries of origin is the fear of them being tortured by their own intelligence or police services.
Very quick, related question on Iraq.
What do you do when the enemy uses a religious shrine as a base of operations?
Look, when fired upon, you've got to fire back.
That's the rules of engagement that we've had in this war ever since it began on the 20th of March 2003.
It's the same rules of engagement that have been used in Afghanistan.
And one of the problems we've got today, David, is that the disinformation that is being worked with the use of the American media
By putting out propaganda on their part and us being unable to respond in kind is very, very difficult to overcome.
That's one of the things we're facing some of these charges coming out of Iraq.