SPIEGEL ONLINE: With all your access to high-level sources, have you come across anyone who still thinks it is a good idea for the U.S. to torture people?Am I the only one who finds that last bit kinda unsettling and creepy? Like Bush hangs on the torturers' every word, panting and begging for ever more cruel and gory detail? (God help them if they're bald; he'd never leave them alone...)
Suskind: No. Most of the folks involved say that we made mistakes at the start. The president wants to keep all options open because he never wants his hands tied in any fashion, as he says, because he doesn't know what's ahead. But those involved in the interrogation protocol, I think are more or less in concert in saying that, in our panic in the early days, we made some mistakes.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Because they could have gotten information through normal interrogations . . . .
Suskind: . . . yes, and without paying this terrific price, namely: America's moral standing. We poured plenteous gasoline on the fires of jihadist recruitment.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?
Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.
Maybe he can be an interrogator after his term finally, mercifully expires. He has the temperament and the total lack of empathy for it.