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 to strong notices, including not one but two positive reviews in the New York Times. But Fair actually wrote about his time as an interrogator more than a decade earlier in an internal NSA publication.
One of the publication’s editors asked him to contribute a piece about “how my experience as an interrogator influences my work at the NSA,” as he put it in Consequence. Fair submitted an article in which “I question the efficacy of certain intelligence-gathering techniques and wonder whether, for the sake of morality, it might be best to sacrifice some level of tactical knowledge.”
“I was asked rewrite this section. I cut it completely. Instead, I wrote about how my experience in the interrogation booths had familiarized me with the overall intelligence cycle.”