Some of you might remember my little run-in with my contracting employer a few years ago: the CIA. You know, the old "Waterboarding is Torture, and Torture is Wrong" blog post that got me fired. And for the record, I never wanted my job back. So you can stop bitching about that right now.
I bring up this history to illustrate a point. I wrote a book proposal just after "the incident" as my mother calls it, titled "Torture Doesn't Work". No big surprises. I relied on U.S. Civil War history about Andersonville, history from the Battle of Algiers and the Vietnamese War with the French before American involvement in that conflict. No classified sources. No classified information, as I was not old enough to be working for the U.S. Government during those conflicts. What could be safer? What could be more unclassified?
I have always maintained that the most important information is unclassified anyway.
My sources were all in libraries and computer servers. All were public domain history books. All I added was my analysis about how torture was proven to be ineffective in getting information or winning a war. The terror problems we have now started with the torture of Muslim clerics in Egyptian prisons. Torture didn't work for the French, either.
Have you guessed yet? The CIA is still reviewing my book proposal for classified information over four years later. If I went hog-wild and self-published that book, I could go to prison or be made a pauper by malicious prosecution.
When debating this topic amongst your friends, remember this little story. And then tell me that an intelligence review is not also a political review.