A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Who Tortures the Terrorists? Transnational Terrorism and Military Torture


Who Tortures the Terrorists? Transnational Terrorism and Military Torture

Abstract: 

Do governments respond to terrorism with torture? Although governments face incentives to increase torture in response to terrorist attacks, previous research finds no relationship between terror and state torture. We argue that this is unsurprising because incentives to violate human rights differ across domestic government agencies. Using new data that disaggregates state torture by the government agency responsible for the abuse, we investigate the effect of transnational and domestic terrorism on torture perpetrated by military officials. We find that military agents—especially those in democracies—engage in substantively more widespread torture when confronted with terrorism and that this behavior is particularly likely in response to transnational attacks.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Conrad, Courtenay R., Justin Conrad, James Igoe Walsh, and James A. Piazza. 2014. "Who Tortures the Terrorists? Transnational Terrorism and Military Torture." Foreign Policy Analysis (October). https://academic.oup.com/fpa/article/13/4/761/2937217

START Author(s): 
James A. Piazza
Publication URL: 
Visit Website

Additional Info

Research Area: 
Regions: