Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



In the Fox Television Network program 24 a fictional counterterrorism agent named Jack Bauer uses extreme measures, including torture, to save the United States from catastrophic terrorist attacks. Bauer uses torture even though its efficacy is in question and it is illegal. Political leaders, including President George Bush, have endorsed the use of torture and Bauer's fictional success has reinforced that the idea these methods are both necessary and effective in obtaining actionable intelligence. This paper examines existing literature on military interrogations in the context of 24 and reviews empirical and descriptive evidence about existing practices. While researchers cannot ethically or legally test torture's effectiveness, more research is needed to study methods currently in use by the military.