Obama's Intel Chief: Interrogations Yielded 'High Value Information'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2009 9:36 PM CDT
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in February.    (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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(Newser) – President Obama's own intelligence chief said harsh interrogations of terror suspects yielded "high value information" that "provided a deeper understanding" of al-Qaeda, the New York Times reports. Dennis Blair made the statement in a memo to his staff last week, the same day the Obama administration released the Bush team's legal memos. That line, along with another in which he emphathized with the decision to approve the interrogations, were edited out of a version of his memo made public last week.

Tonight, Blair played down the discrepancy, saying the edits were part of a routine condensing. He added that the now-banned techniques have "hurt our image around the world," outweighing any benefits from the information they yielded. An opponent of the Obama decision to release the Bush memos provided the full Blair statement to the Times. It could buttress arguments by Dick Cheney and others that waterboarding and other tactics were worth it.