One of the major conservative criticisms of President Barack Obama’s decision, early in his presidency, to release secret memoranda about interrogation techniques used against terrorists was that the president–and Attorney General Eric Holder, who threatened prosecutions of intelligence officials–were giving America’s enemies crucial information that would allow them to prepare themselves to resist questioning in the future.
Now we see another risk: that a terror group like ISIS would use American interrogation techniques against western hostages, not to produce intelligence but to create a false moral equivalency with the U.S. and undermine American morale. Here, for example, is how the Huffington Post reports the torture of James Foley, the journalist beheaded by ISIS: “James Foley Was Tortured by ISIS Militants Using CIA Techniques.”
The clear implication is that the U.S.–and the Bush administration specifically–is actually to blame for what happened to Foley. And media-savvy ISIS understands the effect that has–the moral paralysis it induces on the left and within the White House. By imputing guilt to fellow Americans, and releasing sensitive details for largely political purposes, Obama and Holder gave terror organization a new weapon, in more ways than one.