Just 29 percent of voters think it’s a good idea to move responsibility for interrogating terrorists from the CIA to the White House, as President Obama has ordered, according to a new poll.

National security experts were stunned by the announcement of a new terrorism interrogation unit in the White House, stripping the CIA of its oversight of the questioning of key terror suspects.

Obama’s announcement said the White House interrogation unit will be run by his National Security Council, a move that is alarming to a majority of Americans, according to the just-released Zogby International/O’Leary Report poll.

Brad O’Leary, besides authoring the report bearing his name, also has written “Shut Up America: The End of Free Speech.”

The poll asked: The Obama administration has moved the responsibility for interrogating terrorists from the CIA to the White House, where the National Security Director will oversee interrogations. Do you think this move is a good idea or a bad idea?

The survey that included 4,518 voters Aug. 28-31, resulting in a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points, followed a process that weighted the sample to reflect the exact outcome of the 2008 president election: 53 percent Obama voters and 47 percent McCain voters.

Fifty-two percent of the voters think Obama’s move is a bad idea, and 19 percent were unsure. Twenty-nine percent believe it is a good idea.

“A clear majority of independent voters (56 percent) think the Obama administration’s move is a bad idea, and just 25 percent think it’s a good idea,” a report on the results said. “A plurality of young voters age 18-29 (48 percent) think it’s a bad idea, and 28 percent think it’s a good idea.”

O’Leary, author and publisher of The O’Leary Report, said the majority of Americans opposed to the move also likely reflects their opposition to Obama’s decision to pursue cases against CIA interrogators.

“These interrogators helped keep America safe from terrorist attacks for the past eight years,” said O’Leary. “That the president and his administration would treat them like criminals, and go so far as to strip them from their duties, clearly doesn’t sit well with most Americans.”

O’Leary also is concerned that putting a high-level terror interrogation unit under the direct supervision of the White House sets a bad precedent by injecting politics into a serious national security matter.

“The White House National Security Council will exercise direct oversight over the unit,” O’Leary said. “No longer will CIA experts be supervising crucial interrogations with terror suspects, but rather, President Obama’s close advisers will be making those calls. Competency is certainly a big issue, but so is the possibility that high-level terror interrogations will now be subject to White House politics.”

If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O’Leary about this story, e-mail [email protected]


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