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Debate on Torture and Public’s Right to Know

In March 2014, Democracy Now! hosted a debate between former CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo and human rights attorney Scott Horton to address criticism of the Obama Administration for its having closed an investigation of CIA officials’ actions since 9/11. The debate addressed the methods the CIA used to capture and question potential threats to the U.S., how the CIA’s mission has evolved to include targeted killings via drone strikes, and the question of whether or not the American people have a right to know about the CIA’s actions.

While the debate moved back and forth between these different topics, it centered the extent to which the American public should be informed about CIA operations and the decisions its government has made concerning terrorists since 9/11. The main moral issue here is whether or not the government should be allowed to perform certain actions (i.e. kidnapping, torture, murder, etc.) against potential threats to the country in the name of the American people and for the (supposed) protection of the American people, without first telling them what they are doing.  Another matter raised was how the U.S. would respond, if other countries utilized the same methods of interrogation on U.S. citizens.

Source: Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, “A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney,” Democracy Now!, March 28, 2014,

Student Researcher: Yusra Qureshi (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

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