by Patrick Appel
Cheney does not mention the claim, which he has made elsewhere, that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques produced information that saved lives. Rather, he claims only that “individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda.” This statement is neither in dispute, nor much of a revelation. The enhanced techniques, when they were used as designed and not by rogue agents without proper supervision, were employed on a select few detainees who knew a lot about al Qaeda. The outstanding question is whether the enhanced techniques were necessary to produce the information, and on that score the memos continue to paint a muddy picture, as TIME's Bobby Ghosh explains today in this piece. In fact, the CIA IG concludes that measuring the effectiveness of the harsh techniques is a “subjective” task, with no clear result.
This line from Cheney's statement is revealing: "President Obama's decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel..." Cheney doesn't blame Holder for going ahead with prosecutions; he blames Obama. In Cheney's formation, the DOJ is not autonomous but subservient to the executive.