Videotape

VIDEOTAPE….In the LA Times today, Josh Meyer writes about a subject that’s been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of weeks but never quite made it onto the blog: why did we videotape only two interrogations of al-Qaeda subjects in the months after 9/11?

By their own accounting, the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have not videotaped the interrogations of potentially hundreds of other terrorism suspects. That indicates an outmoded level of secrecy and unprofessionalism, the interrogation experts contend.

….Many interrogation experts, including some involved in the ongoing Intelligence Science Board study, say they have urged U.S. intelligence officials to look to Israel, Britain and other countries with decades of experience in dealing with terrorism to learn from their successes — and their mistakes.

Israel and Britain both adopted a scientific approach to interrogations long ago, using videotape and other documentary evidence to help determine which techniques work and which don’t in getting violent extremists to disclose operational details of their networks and more strategic subjects such as what motivated them in the first place.

The article goes on to discuss both the videotape question and the harsh interrogation vs. building rapport question, and mostly rehashes old ground on those subjects. But regardless of where you stand on that, doesn’t it seem almost beyond belief that we wouldn’t videotape every interrogation we did and then study the tapes endlessly for clues? It hardly seems like you need to talk with the British and the Israelis to figure out that this might be a good idea.