In the wake of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s interrogation tactics, relatives of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have little sympathy for those tortured by the agency, believing the end justifies the means.
In the financial district of lower Manhattan, about 500 yards from the central scene of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Patrick Grady was preparing for his day’s work on the trading floor. The state of the market was on his mind, but he had no time for soul searching.
“I could care less,” Grady said of the Senate report’s accounts of prisoner torture.
Grady’s brother, Christopher, died in the 9/11 attacks. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, whose offices were near the top of the World Trade Center’s north tower.
Grady believes the country’s security agencies should be given wide latitude to operate, including freedom to use whatever interrogation tactics they believe may yield results.
“Their primary goal is to keep us safe. That’s their job,” Grady said.
Many Americans agree. Citing polls taken by the Associated Press since 2005, the New York Times reported Wednesday that Americans have become more accepting of the use of torture to obtain information from terrorism suspects. In 2013, about half of people surveyed believed torture could “sometimes” or “often” be justified to that end. That was up from a minority of 38 percent who held similar opinions in 2005.
Grady doesn’t think it’s always in the public’s interest to know what’s going on behind the scenes of national security efforts.
“There’s a reason it’s a clandestine service. There’s a lot that goes on in the world that people don’t know about,” Grady said. “There’s this idea now that we have a right to know everything that’s going on, and I don’t think that’s true.”
Anne Marie Davidson, who works alongside Grady, agrees. Her brother-in-law, Michael Davidson, also died in the Cantor Fitzgerald offices on 9/11. She said her husband, Jeff, still has trouble talking about his brother’s death.
“It is too raw and sensitive for my husband or his mom to discuss. I think the world so easily forgets what happened to America that day,” Davidson said. “I don’t care if they ripped those assholes limb from limb to get knowledge.”
Both Davidson and Grady expressed frustration with the tone of the Obama administration’s response to the Senate’s report.
“I am completely disgusted with this government and this whole torture [controversy],” Davidson said. “What about the innocent victims from 9/11?”
Grady, who identifies as Republican, said he believed the report to be politically motivated.
“In my eyes, the people who are keeping the country safe can pretty much do whatever they want,“ Grady said. “After the attacks, our president [Bush] promised to keep our country safe. And he did.”