Make Torture an Option, CBS News, January 17, 2002
"Is there a place in the U.S. justice system for torture? Alan Dershowitz, the civil libertarian defender of O.J Simpson, believes the law should sanction torture so it may be applied in certain cases, such as terrorist acts. In a report to be broadcast Sunday on 60 Minutes, Dershowitz tells Correspondent Mike Wallace that torture is inevitable. 'We can’t just close our eyes and pretend we live in a pure world,' he says. After the events of Sept. 11, with many al Qaida members in custody, Dershowitz says he wants to bring the debate to the forefront. He gave the 'ticking bomb' scenario - a person refusing to tell when and where a bomb will go off."
Let America Take Its Cues from Israel Regarding Torture,
by Alan Dershowitz, Jewish World Review, January 30, 2002
"If American law enforcement officers were ever to confront the law school hypothetical case of the captured terrorist who knew about an imminent attack but refused to provide the information necessary to prevent it, I have absolutely no doubt that they would try to torture the terrorists into providing the information... In my new book, 'Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age,'' I offer a controversial proposal designed to stimulate debate about this difficult issue. Under my proposal, no torture would be permitted without a 'torture warrant' being issued by a judge. An application for a torture warrant would have to be based on the absolute need to obtain immediate information in order to save lives coupled with probable cause that the suspect had such information and is unwilling to reveal it. The suspect would be given immunity from prosecution based on information elicited by the torture. The warrant would limit the torture to nonlethal means, such as sterile needles, being inserted beneath the nails to cause excruciating pain without endangering life."
The US May Use Torture Against Terrorism,
by Alisdair Palmer, Telegraph (UK), December 15, 2002
"Is there anything which can be done to prevent an impending catastrophe? It seems that there is. Only last week, the Intelligence Committee of the US Congress concluded that, had the FBI and the CIA actually responded effectively and efficiently to the information in their possession, they could have prevented the suicide hijackings which led to the devastation at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the deaths of more than 3,000 people. The Congressional Report does not provide much detail on what would be 'effective' in forestalling the next terrorist outrage in America. But when I talked to several officers from both the CIA and FBI in New York and Washington last week, they were in no doubt about what they would have to do: they would have to torture people. It is not just officers in the intelligence agencies who think this: senior lawyers working for the US government do so too. The unanimity in American law-enforcement circles is striking. Torture is no longer simply a topic for debate. The debate has been won. 'After the next al-Qaeda outrage in the US, the pressure will be irresistible,' one federal prosecutor told me ... 'In a sense, we already use torture anyway,' one CIA officer told me. 'When we arrest a foreign national who we think has important information, we hand him over to a foreign government such as the Egyptians. Its police will arrest the suspect's wife and children, put them at the other end of the same cell, and then produce a couple of pit bulls and say: 'Talk, or we let these dogs go at your wife and child.' That usually works' ... All the same, the idea that torture could become a part of America's justice system is profoundly shocking. Is it really possible to imagine FBI headquarters echoing with the screams of people having their teeth drilled without anaesthetic? One senior FBI officer told me: 'If I knew that the man in front of me had the critical information that would enable the US to prevent a catastrophic attack from taking place on its soil, I would torture him, and take the consequences. Wouldn't you?" 'You can duck the question,' the FBI officer continued, 'But we can't. Our ability to protect you depends on how we answer it. We can't rely on other countries' doing it, because the one man who knows the secrets may be a US citizen who we pick up right here in the US' ... The force of that argument explains why there are US lawyers who now advocate the introduction of 'torture warrants'. The FBI would have to apply to the courts for them in the same way they obtain search warrants. Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard and one of America's most distinguished advocates of civil liberties, has come to the conclusion that judicial torture is not prohibited by the US Constitution. He argues that the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits self-incrimination, only means that statements elicited by torture could not be introduced as evidence against the tortured defendant. He argues that the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits 'cruel and unusual punishment', is not violated by torture either: it applies only to punishment after an individual has been convicted."