Paul Aussaresses is a retired French Army general, who fought during World War II, the First Indochina War and Algerian War. His actions during the Algerian War, and later defense of those actions, caused considerable controversy.
Aussaresses was a career Army intelligence officer with an excellent military record when he joined the Free French Forces in North Africa during the Second World War. In 1947 he was given command of the 11th Shock Battalion, a commando unit that was part of France's former external intelligence agency, the External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service, the SDECE.
Aussaresses provoked controversy in 2000, when in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he defended the use of torture during the Algerian war. He repeated the defense in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, further arguing that torture ought to be used in the fight against Al-Qaeda, and again defended his use of torture during the Algerian War in a 2001 book, The Battle of the Casbah. In the aftermath of the controversy, he was stripped of his rank, the right to wear his army uniform and his Légion d'Honneur. Aussaresses remained defiant, he dismissed the latter act as hypocritical.