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"amateurish And Unreliable"

No doubt most people have seen this New York Times story by now:

As the Bush administration completes secret new rules governing interrogations, a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.

The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.

While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods--possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda--are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.

That speaks for itself. Weirdly, though, the Intelligence Science Board study on which the piece is based was made public way back in January (though, granted, it's certainly worth rehashing again and again). The "breaking" news here actually seems to be tucked about halfway down the Times piece: The Bush administration is nearing completion of a new executive order on CIA interrogation techniques that will reportedly ban water-boarding but still "authorize some methods that go beyond those allowed in the military by the Army Field Manual."

P.S. Note also the one law professor quoted in the piece who points out that the Bush administration has put far more time, energy, and resources into coming up with strained legal justifications for torture than into actually creating "an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects."

--Bradford Plumer