In a room of policy wonks, Alexander (a pseudonym the former Air Force officer uses because of the delicate subject matter he speaks about) was direct and quietly convincing.
"Torture cost us lives, and it will continue to cost us lives," he says, a idea he treats in depth in his 2008 book, How To Break A Terrorist: The US Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, To Take Down the Deadliest Man In Iraq (Free Press). By and large, fear, control, and coercive methods don't work in the interrogation room, Alexander said. "What worked time and time again were the same techniques that street cops use every day — applying your intellect."
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