Of course the US will not say what it will and will not do and anything that it does allow will simply by definition not be torture. It is interesting that McConnell will not even deny the use of waterboarding.
Of course there is no verification through independent studies referenced that threat of torture has the great benefits that McConnell claims. In the case of actual torture some studies show that it usually does not work. Naturally people will tell you whatever you want to here so it is a sure way of getting "proof" for theories even if they are unlikely or even false.
US to stick with tough interrogations
WASHINGTON: The United States will press ahead with enhanced interrogation of terror suspects, which has saved “countless lives,” but will not engage in torture, the top US spymaster said on Sunday.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, however, refused to spell out whether techniques such as the alleged practice of “water boarding” were permitted under a new executive order of President George W Bush.
“The United States does not engage in torture. This executive order spells that out,” McConnell said on NBC television. But he indicated that the implied threat of torture had reaped dividends in extracting life-saving information from detainees.
“The techniques work. It’s not torture. But it is effective. It’s a psychological approach to causing someone to feel uncertainty,” McConnell said. “It has saved countless lives because (when those under interrogation) believe these techniques might involve torture ... they tend to speak to us in a very candid way.”