NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t



FRESH AIR: Forget “enhanced interrogation techniques” — Eric Fair says what he did as an interrogator in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was torture. “The idea that there’s interrogation, and then enhanced interrogation, and then torture — there is no middle ground,” he tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “Torture is an enhanced interrogation.” The techniques Fair used were considered legal by the U.S. government, but what he did still weighs on his conscience. Though he says he didn’t practice any of the worst abuses, he used stress positions and sleep deprivation, and he now deeply regrets it. He describes consequencesthe emotional and mental toll of his actions in his new memoir, Consequence. “We hurt people, and not just physically,” he says. “We destroyed them emotionally, and … I think at the very least it’s a just punishment for us that we suffer some of those consequences, too.”

Fair worked as an interrogator in Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, employed by a private company under contract to the military. He had previously served in the military and worked as a police officer in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pa. After working as an interrogator, he returned to Iraq as an intelligence analyst for the NSA. He says what he did during his time in Abu Ghraib and Fallujah was abhorrent. “My behavior towards Iraqi detainees did not meet the standard that I had simply been raised on,” he says. “It was not the way that I should’ve behaved. There are long discussions about why those things happened … and how difficult it was to sort of break from those expectations of being a soldier — but none of that matters. I made horrible mistakes. … I have a responsibility to confess those things openly.” MORE