Targeting Terrorists

New Department of Interrogation?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration is discussing creating a specialized team with psychological expertise to deal with high-level terror suspects. The interrogators would reduce the CIA's involvement in interrogations—the intelligence agency is in the doghouse with Congress over allegedly withholding from them a secret plan to assassinate al Qaeda members. The team would recruit from the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon to find members who can "research, master, and conduct non-coercive interrogations of detainees." But should the CIA be running covert operations to assassinate Al Qaeda terrorists? Richard Clarke, national security official in the White House for three presidents, roiled the Bush administration when he apologized to the 9/11 families and said Bush and Cheney were so obsessed with Saddam Hussein they’d failed to protect America from the real threat. Now he enters the latest row by arguing that the CIA should be restricted to intelligence--but he still approves of assassinations if done sparingly. In a thoughtful piece in the Wall Street Journal he argues it’s the only way to reconcile national safety with democratic values.