The "aggressive" interrogation techniques that the Bush administration advocates for use on terror suspects is coming under fire from experts who call the practice "outmoded, amateurish and unreliable."
Even members of the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, have begun to question the use of torture to gain information from suspects.
But President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continue to push use of such techniques, calling them a "valuable tool" in the so-called war on terror.
But support for use of torture, once a given on Capitol Hill, is beginning to wane.
Report Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times:
As the Bush administration completes secret new rules governing interrogations, a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.
The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.
While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods â€” possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda â€” are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.
Some of the study participants argue that interrogation should be restructured using lessons from many fields, including the tricks of veteran homicide detectives, the persuasive techniques of sophisticated marketing and models from American history.
The science board critique comes as ethical concerns about harsh interrogations are being voiced by current and former government officials. The top commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, sent a letter to troops this month warning that â€œexpedient methodsâ€ using force violated American values.
In a blistering lecture delivered last month, a former adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called â€œimmoralâ€ some interrogation tactics used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon.
But in meetings with intelligence officials and in a 325-page initial report completed in December, the researchers have pressed a more practical critique: there is little evidence, they say, that harsh methods produce the best intelligence.