Majority of Americans Believe Torture Can Prevent Terrorism Sometimes

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More than half of Americans (57 percent) believe that interrogation tactics such as waterboarding — techniques widely considered to be torture — are successful in preventing terrorist attacks at least some of the time.

Roughly a quarter (23 percent) believe that many of the techniques in the CIA’s interrogation program, publicized in a Senate Intelligence Committee report last week, produce reliable counterterrorism information often, CBS News reports. The poll of 1,003 adults was conducted by phone on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA.

Close to half (49 percent) of Americans believe interrogation techniques such as waterboarding are sometimes justified, while 36 percent believe they are never justified. The percentage of those who believe the techniques are justified has slightly risen, compared to three years ago.

Americans consider these interrogation techniques to be torture:

  • 73 percent believe threatening to sexually abuse a prisoner’s mother is torture
  • 70 percent believe forcing a detainee to stay awake for 180 hours is torture
  • 69 percent believe waterboarding is torture
  • 57 percent believe forcing detainees to take ice-water baths is torture
  • A little more than half (52 percent) of Americans believe publicizing the program tactics will negatively impact U.S. national security, while a third believe it will have no effect.

    [CBS News]

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