Many popular movies, television series, and even animated films depict torture as an effective means of gaining information from suspected criminals and terrorists.  Yet, torture, and cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees violates international treaties as well as U.S. law, and many counterterrorism experts have questioned its efficacy relative to other means of gathering information.  Nonetheless, many Americans—having seen torture work on the screens—continue to believe it its usefulness.  Public debate around torture as a tool of counterterrorism was heightened by the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with officials in the Bush Administration defending the use of what they termed, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against suspected terrorists.  While public discussions regarding torture have waned somewhat in recent years, the appropriate means of interrogating suspects continues to be a salient topic in academic and policy debates.

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Intelligence and National Security coverThe Treaty on the European Union (EU) stipulates that one of the key objectives of the Union is to provide citizens with a high level of safety within an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Given that the fight against terrorism is a prominent aspect of this general objective, it is remarkable that, in spite of its political relevance and decade-long history, it has only relatively recently received due attention in the academic community.[1] At the time of writing, only a handful of post-9/11 edited volumes and special issues have focused on specific aspects of the EU counterterrorism efforts[2] and initial monographs on the subject have only been relatively recently published by the three editors behind this special issue: Javier Argomaniz[3] has produced a theoretically informed assessment of the coherence of the EU response, Oldrich Burres[4] has examined the extent to which the EU can offer an added value in the fight against terrorism in Europe and Christian Kaunert [5] has studied how counter- terrorism has been a driver in the process of construction of the EU’s AFSJ.

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