The Senate report on torture found that the “enhanced techniques” used by the CIA were ineffective as a mechanism for gathering intelligence. In fact, the report stated there was no actionable intelligence gained while employing the controversial tactics used under the Detention and Interrogation Program that President Obama ended by Executive Order 13491 in January of 2009.
Will these findings, coupled with graphic explanations of the techniques, alter public opinion? Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post warns us “not to kid ourselves: Most Americans are fine with torture, even when you call it ‘torture.“ Brittany Lyte of fivethirtyeight.com shows slightly more restraint while reporting “Americans have grown more supportive of torture.”
But have they? Public opinion polls have shown the contrary. The public has seldom been supportive of torture, even when presented with “ticking time bomb” scenarios where the intelligence is described as vital to stopping an impending terrorist attack. When asked about actual torture practices such as waterboarding or sexual humiliation, public support mostly collapses.