Critics Say Obama's Torture Ban Undermines Vow to Protect America

President Obama's vow to keep Americans safe is in conflict with his decision to limit interrogation techniques to the Army Field Manual, opponents of his anti-terror policies say.

The Army Field Manual, which includes interrogation methods intended for captured soldiers rather than hardened terrorists, is "not useful at all," David Rivkin, a former official in the Bush Justice Department, told FOX News. "In fact, the Army Field Manual is, let's say, so anemic, that it goes below the level of coercion associated with police station level of interrogation."

For instance, the time-honored technique of "good cop, bad cop" is in question because insults are not allowed.

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA employee wonders how far Obama would go if the U.S. captured a terrorist who said nuclear weapons were set to go off in some American cities but refused to say which ones.

"What do you do in that case?" Scheuer said. "Is the president's moral repulsion about techniques that have protected America more important that actually going after an attempt to use a nuclear device in the United States."

Obama, however, has argued that any intelligence gained by methods his administration deems torture could have been obtained instead by methods that don't violate American principles ideals.

FOX News contributor Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, noted that time will tell whether Americans get behind Obama's call for principles over expediency.

"He said at one point he thinks that the American people over time will recognize that he made the right decision, that it's better to stick with who we are even when we are taking on an unscrupulous enemy and not use these techniques," Liasson said.

Intelligence officials had urged the Obama administration to only ban waterboarding, which hadn't been used in five years, rather than all enhanced interrogation techniques, FOX News has learned. They told the Obama transition team that if all were ruled out, it would be hard to revive them in case of an imminent threat, and Rivkin agrees.

"You cannot just take down to zero, or even worse, poison the well, and then expect to be able to turn on a dime," Rivkin said.

But multiple sources told FOX News that in two days of meetings at the CIA, former Sen. David Boren dismissed that view and argued they could easily be revived.

"If the president calls you up and asks you to do something, you'll do it," Boren said. "If he calls you, that should be enough."

Several sources say three officials in the meeting, including CIA Director Michael Hayden, said a call from the president is not enough -- legal opinions are needed.