Cast your mind back to the immediate post 9/11 years and we were facing a very uncertain, dangerous world.
America was reeling from the worst terror attack ever and we were facing a greater danger than at any time since the Second World War.
Discounting the outbreak of nuclear war, terrorism attacks were the biggest threat.
History proves this time and time again.
British intelligence officers, operating within the law, were under huge pressure to access information that could help eliminate that threat and save lives.
That’s why I believe it was crucial that we went to some pretty unpleasant places to glean intelligence. It was vital we were there to bring intelligence back.
Many times I believe our being in foreign parts, where detainees were being questioned, led to us getting important intelligence. It saved lives.
We could have claimed the moral high ground and refused to travel to these places but that would have denied us access to life-saving intelligence.
I even recall that the Americans ignored some requests for interviews with detainees as they were saving us the embarrassment of being complicit.
It is true that people knew what was going on as regards the treatment of detainees by the Americans, but our presence never affected that.
It would have happened anyway, regardless of our reaction to it.
After witnessing the unpleasant way in which detainees were treated, officers would make representations to the Americans to complain about it with little response.
But even though torture does not work as an intelligence-gathering tool it was better that we were there than not there. It meant we had the choice of what to do with the information we gathered, rather than not have it at all.
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