After working as an interrogator for a U.S. military contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair took a job as an analyst for the National Security Agency. When he went to the NSA, Fair was reckoning with the torture of Iraqi prisoners, torture he had witnessed and in which he had participated.
Fair would go on to write a memoir detailing his experiences in Iraq; the book, Consequence, was published last month.
In Consequence, he recounts the daily work of manipulating and mistreating prisoners even as he became disillusioned with the idea that such interrogations produced any intelligence of value.
He writes about shoving detainees into walls and throwing chairs, seeing men naked in freezing temperatures and subjecting them to sleep deprivation. He sees detainees being struck by other interrogators. He describes a technique known as the “Palestinian chair,” rumored to have been taught to U.S. forces by Israeli interrogators. Fair describes the torture of one Iraqi detainee in the chair in excruciating detail. “His hands are tied to his ankles. The chair forces him to lean forward in a crouch, forcing all of his weight onto his thighs. … He is blindfolded. His head has collapsed into his chest. He wheezes and gasps for air. There is a pool of urine at his feet.”
He writes, “I am not disgusted by my actions” is readable amid the black bars. So is “I am disgusted by how good it felt to wield power.”