May 13th, 2009
01:05 PM ET

'Enhanced interrogations' don't work, ex-FBI agent tells panel

Program Note: For more on the debate over the "enhanced interrogation techniques" tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/13/interrogation.hearing/art.torture.hearing.cnn.jpg caption="From left: Sens. Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein listen Wednesday."]


The contentious debate over so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" took center stage on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as a former FBI agent involved in the questioning of terror suspects testified that such techniques - including waterboarding - are ineffective.

Ali Soufan, an FBI special agent from 1997 to 2005, told members of a key Senate Judiciary subcommittee that such "techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda."

His remarks followed heated exchanges between committee members with sharply differing views on both the value of the techniques and the purpose of the hearing itself.

Soufan, who was involved in the interrogation of CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah, took issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has said that enhanced interrogation techniques helped the government acquire intelligence necessary to prevent further attacks after September 11, 2001.

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