1) Wrong, and a betrayal of the people charged with protecting American lives? Or 2) Needed, because these methods present one of the darkest chapters in American history — and besides that, critics charge, they don't work.
The attorney general has stirred a political hornets nest. Former Vice President Dick Cheney calls it a politically motivated move that will have a “devastating effect” on national security. Critics on the left say Holder isn’t going far enough. Somewhere in the middle is the White House and Commander in Chief.
This hour, On Point: A special prosecutor, rule of law, and torture.
Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for The New York Times. He has covered the Obama administration's internal battle over investigating the CIA.
Mark Danner, professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College. His articles in The New York Review of Books last April on the leaked Red Cross torture report triggered the disclosure of memos on prisoner abuse. He's the author of “Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror." His new book, "Stripping Bare the Body: Politics, Violence, War," will be published next month.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, former specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on terrorism and intelligence. He's a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, a correspondent for The Atlantic, and author of the books "Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey into Revolutionary Iran (1997) and "The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy" (2004). His recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal was headlined "Interrogating the CIA."
This program aired on September 2, 2009.