CIA interrogators use “unique” methods to obtain “vital” information from prisoners, but strictly obey laws against torture, CIA Director Porter Goss said in an interview published on Monday.
“This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work,” Goss said in an interview with USA Today.
“We use lawful capabilities to collect vital information and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture,” Goss told the newspaper.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, has proposed legislation outlawing torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of U.S. prisoners. Vice President Dick Cheney has been working in Congress to exempt the CIA from such a formal ban.
Goss told USA Today that the CIA is neutral on the McCain legislation. But the newspaper said Goss made clear techniques that would be restricted under McCain’s proposal have yielded valuable intelligence.
“There is a huge amount of misinformation swirling about on the subject of detainees. That would include alleged activities of this agency,” Goss said.
'We have to ... develop agility'
The newspaper said Goss declined to describe interrogation methods exclusive to the CIA during an interview on Friday at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
“An enemy that’s working in an amorphous network that doesn’t have to worry about a bunch of regulations, chain of command, rule of law or anything else has got a huge advantage over a stultified, slow-moving, bureaucratic, by-the-book organization,” Goss said.
“So we have to, within the law and within all the requirements of our professional ethics in this profession, develop agility. And that means putting a lot of judgment in the hands of individuals overseas.”
USA Today said Goss declined to discuss reports by The Washington Post and Human Rights Watch alleging that the CIA has run secret prison camps in Central European countries.
He told the newspaper media leaks about allies helping the CIA capture and interrogate detainees may provoke reprisal attacks.