Republicans from Dick Cheney on down have been unflagging in their arguments that these "enhanced interrogation techniques . . . were absolutely crucial" to preventing "a major-casualty attack." This argument, still strongly supported by a great many Americans, is deeply pernicious, for it holds that it is impossible to protect the country without breaking the law.
Though I suppose it could be said that the law was broken into little pieces, then reassembled with a few of the pieces left out.
In any case, the time and energy devoted to drawing lines between legal and illegal acts, to making sure the people we torture are safe, is time and energy not devoted to coming up with moral means of securing our nation.