RealNews

Questioning Terror Suspects in a Dark and Surreal World

The capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed provides American authorities with their best opportunity yet to prevent attacks by Al Qaeda and track down Osama bin Laden. But the detention also presents a tactical and moral challenge when it comes to the interrogation techniques used to obtain vital information. Senior American officials said physical torture would not be used against Mr. Mohammed, regarded as the operations chief of Al Qaeda and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. They said his interrogation would rely on what they consider acceptable techniques like sleep and light deprivation and the temporary withholding of food, water, access to sunlight and medical attention. American officials acknowledged that such techniques were recently applied as part of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the highest-ranking Qaeda operative in custody until the capture of Mr. Mohammed. Painkillers were withheld from Mr. Zubaydah, who was shot several times during his capture in Pakistan. But the urgency of obtaining information about potential attacks and the opaque nature of the way interrogations are carried out can blur the line between accepted and unaccepted actions, several American officials said. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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