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Chertoff in the LA Times on Terror, Torture, and Security

Michael Chertoff, the former  Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about threats to U.S. security. The interview appeared in yesterday's LA Times.

Here's Chertoff's response to a question about recent changes to U.S. torture and detention policies and procedures.

Some critics, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, say such moves make America less safe. Where do you stand?

What
we owe the people who are at the point of the spear is certainty. Right
after 9/11 . . . there was a lot of criticism about prior timidity in
being too lawyered up and too cautious about killing [Osama] bin Laden.
. . . Now, I think you'd be fair to say as an agent: I should be as
nonaggressive as possible. . . . Unfortunately that's the message
coming out. . . . People will take the most risk-averse option. And of
course the country won't be safe.

And if you think the country
should tolerate that, that's a fair argument. But you've got to be
clear about it and . . . if it turns out that something happens as a
result and Americans get killed, then you have to take responsibility.

The interview is available at www.latimes.com. Chertoff is the author of Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years.