Waterboarding tell-all not honest: ex-agent

Last updated 05:00 19/01/2014

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Outspoken former CIA agent Glenn Carle has disputed claims made by the agency's former top lawyer, John Rizzo, in his new autobiography, saying it is "much less honest" than it should be.

In his book, Company Man, Rizzo defends his support for the CIA's use, after 9/11, of EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding (or simulated drowning), which have been denounced by others as torture.

However, Carle says Rizzo personally confessed to him some years later that he regretted his involvement - Rizzo gave the legal sign-off for agents to use the much-criticised techniques - and had made a mistake.

"Rizzo said, in my presence, after the fact, that he regrets his involvement, and that he erred," Carle told the Star-Times. "So his book is much less honest than his statement - which he made perhaps under emotional duress."

Carle says Rizzo failed in the same way that almost everyone in the CIA failed, by failing to stand up and question the use of such extreme interrogation tactics.

"He's a nice guy, did his best, usually did excellent work," Carle said. "In crisis he, like everyone, fell short, morally and substant ively. No one could resist the pressure of the moment."

Carle said Rizzo, who on almost every issue had "done fine, honourable work", had simply accepted and bought in . . . he lacked critical challenge."

Carle, whose book The Interrogator described the use of EITs which he witnessed during the War on Terror and led to him being ostracised by the American intelligence community, said opposing them was "like challenging the church: you were burned at the stake if you did. Who dares that?"

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- Sunday Star Times

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