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Linking Torture Tolerance to Safety Threat

Faced with threats to its security, a democratic society will often seek to elude confronting the issue of torture. That's the conclusion of journalist Joseph Lelyveld of The New York Times Magazine .

In the article, "Interrogating Ourselves," Lelyveld examined the question of where Americans draw the line when it comes to the use of humiliation, deprivation, shock, fear and pain -- even in cases where it may save lives.

After speaking with politicians, legal experts, spymasters and interrogators, Lelyveld ultimately concluded that, "Democracies are more than likely to evade the basic question of whether 'torture light' can ever truly be justified for as long as they feel threatened."

Lelyveld was a reporter and editor at the Times for more than 40 years and is currently an occasional contributor to the paper.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.