Number of the Day

51. The percentage of Americans who favor a government investigation of the use of "harsh interrogation techniques" in a new Gallup poll.

Greg Sargent notes:
What's particularly interesting [about the numbers], though, is that a solid majority of 55% also finds that the use of such techniques was justified, versus only 36% who say it wasn't — and yet a slim majority still favors a probe. That suggests, I think, that voters are capable of wanting a thorough airing of precisely what happened and when, even if they don't necessarily oppose the use of torture.

In other words, these numbers suggest that the electorate doesn't generally think a government probe would necessarily amount to retribution or revenge, as so many pundits keep saying, and merely view it as a necessary accounting of what actually happened. Imagine that!
Yes, imagine that.

Another popular talking point is that Obama will alienate himself from the intelligence community somehow if his administration pursues investigations. I think this conclusion is wrong based on the snippet I teased out of former FBI special agent Ali Soufan's op-ed last week: "It's worth noting that when reading between the lines of the newly released memos, it seems clear that it was contractors, not CIA officers, who requested the use of these techniques." I have a strong suspicion that federal agents, who reportedly resented working with lawless military contractors, may not be as opposed to investigations as some evidently assume.

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