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FBI Interrogator Ali Soufan's Testimony

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by SuspectCorner, May 14, 2009.

  1. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    From US Senate Judiciary Committee website:

    Testimony of Ali Soufan / May 13, 2009

    Statement of Ali Soufan

    Mr. Chairman, Committee members, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I know that each one of you cares deeply about our nation's security. It was always a comfort to me during the most dangerous of situations that I faced, from going undercover as an al Qaeda operative, to unraveling terrorist cells, to tracking down the killers of the 17 U.S. sailors murdered in the USS Cole bombing, that those of us on the frontline had your support and the backing of the American people. So I thank you.

    The issue that I am here to discuss today – interrogation methods used to question terrorists – is not, and should not be, a partisan matter. We all share a commitment to using the best interrogation method possible that serves our national security interests and fits squarely within the framework of our nation's principles.

    From my experience – and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence– I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the "enhanced interrogation techniques," a position shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation.

    These techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and as a result harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda. (This is aside from the important additional considerations that they are un-American and harmful to our reputation and cause.)
    My interest in speaking about this issue is not to advocate the prosecution of anyone. People were given misinformation, half-truths, and false claims of successes; and reluctant intelligence officers were given instructions and assurances from higher authorities. Examining a past we cannot change is only worthwhile when it helps guide us towards claiming a better future that is yet within our reach.

    And my focus is on the future. I wish to do my part to ensure that we never again use these harmful, slow, ineffective, and unreliable techniques instead of the tried, tested, and successful ones – the ones that are also in sync with our values and moral character. Only by doing this will we defeat the terrorists as effectively and quickly as possible.

    Most of my professional career has been spent investigating, studying, and interrogating terrorists. I have had the privilege of working alongside, and learning from, some of the most dedicated and talented men and women our nation has– individuals from the FBI, and other law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies.
    In my capacity as a FBI Agent, I investigated and supervised highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa bombings, the USS Cole bombing, and the events surrounding the attacks of 9/11. I also coordinated both domestic and international counter-terrorism operations on the Joint Terrorist Task Force, FBI New York Office.

    I personally interrogated many terrorists we have in our custody and elsewhere, and gained confessions, identified terror operatives, their funding, details of potential plots, and information on how al Qaeda operates, along with other actionable intelligence. Because of these successes, I was the government's main witness in both of the trials we have had so far in Guantanamo Bay – the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver and bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden, and Ali Hamza Al Bahlul, Bin Laden's propagandist. In addition I am currently helping the prosecution prepare for upcoming trials of other detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.

    There are many examples of successful interrogations of terrorists that have taken place before and after 9/11. Many of them are classified, but one that is already public and mirrors the other cases, is the interrogation of al Qaeda terrorist Nasser Ahmad Nasser al-Bahri, known as Abu Jandal. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, together with my partner Special Agent Robert McFadden, a first-class intelligence operative from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), (which, from my experience, is one of the classiest agencies I encountered in the intelligence community), I interrogated Abu Jandal.
    Through our interrogation, which was done completely by the book (including advising him of his rights), we obtained a treasure trove of highly significant actionable intelligence. For example, Abu Jandal gave us extensive information on Osama Bin Laden's terror network, structure, leadership, membership, security details, facilities, family, communication methods, travels, training, ammunitions, and weaponry, including a breakdown of what machine guns, rifles, rocket launchers, and anti-tank missiles they used. He also provided explicit details of the 9/11plot operatives, and identified many terrorists who we later successfully apprehended.

    The information was important for the preparation of the war in Afghanistan in 2001. It also provided an important background to the 9/11 Commission report; it provided a foundation for the trials so far held in Guantanamo Bay; and it also has been invaluable in helping to capture and identify top al Qaeda operatives and thus disrupt plots.
    The approach used in these successful interrogations can be called the Informed Interrogation Approach. Until the introduction of the "enhanced" technique, it was the sole approach used by our military, intelligence, and law enforcement community.

    It is an approach rooted in experiences and lessons learned during World War II and from our Counter-insurgency experience in Vietnam – experiences and lessons that generated the Army Field Manual. This was then refined over the decades to include how to interrogate terrorism suspects specifically, as experience was gained from interrogations following the first World Trade Center bombing, the East Africa Embassy bombings, and the USS Cole bombing. To sum up, it is an approach derived from the cumulative experiences, wisdom, and successes of the most effective operational people our country has produced.
    Before I joined the Bureau, for example, traditional investigative strategies along with intelligence derived from human sources successfully thwarted the 1993 New York City Landmark Bomb Plot (TERRSTOP), a plot by the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, to attack the UN Headquarters, the FBI's New York office, and tunnels and bridges across New York City, -- as a follow-up to the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. That remains to this day the largest thwarted attack on our homeland. I had the privilege of working with, and learning from, those who conducted this successful operation.

    The Informed Interrogation Approach is based on leveraging our knowledge of the detainee's culture and mindset, together with using information we already know about him.
    The interrogator knows that there are three primary points of influence on the detainee:

    First, there is the fear that the detainee feels as a result of his capture and isolation from his support base. People crave human contact, and this is especially true in some cultures more than others. The interrogator turns this knowledge into an advantage by becoming the one person the detainee can talk to and who listens to what he has to say, and uses this to encourage the detainee to open up.

    In addition, acting in a non-threatening way isn't how the detainee is trained to expect a U.S. interrogator to act. This adds to the detainee's confusion and makes him more likely to cooperate.

    Second, and connected, there is the need the detainee feels to sustain a position of respect and value to interrogator. As the interrogator is the one person speaking to and listening to the detainee, a relationship is built – and the detainee doesn't want to jeopardize it. The interrogator capitalizes on this and compels the detainee to give up more information.

    And third, there is the impression the detainee has of the evidence against him. The interrogator has to do his or her homework and become an expert in every detail known to the intelligence community about the detainee. The interrogator then uses that knowledge to impress upon the detainee that everything about him is known and that any lie will be easily caught.

    For example, in my first interrogation of the terrorist Abu Zubaydah, who had strong links to al Qaeda's leaders and who knew the details of the 9/11 plot before it happened, I asked him his name. He replied with his alias. I then asked him, "how about if I call you Hani?" That was the name his mother nicknamed him as a child. He looked at me in shock, said "ok," and we started talking.
    The Army Field Manual is not about being nice or soft. It is a knowledge-based approach. It is about outwitting the detainee by using a combination of interpersonal, cognitive, and emotional strategies to get the information needed. If done correctly it's an approach that works quickly and effectively because it outwits the detainee using a method that he is not trained, or able, to resist.
    This Informed Interrogation Approach is in sharp contrast with the harsh interrogation approach introduced by outside contractors and forced upon CIA officials to use.
    The harsh technique method doesn't use the knowledge we have of the detainee's history, mindset, vulnerabilities, or culture, and instead tries to subjugate the detainee into submission through humiliation and cruelty. The approach applies a force continuum, each time using harsher and harsher techniques until the detainee submits.
    The idea behind the technique is to force the detainee to see the interrogator as the master who controls his pain. It is an exercise in trying to gain compliance rather than eliciting cooperation. A theoretical application of this technique is a situation where the detainee is stripped naked and told: "Tell us what you know."

    If the detainee doesn't immediately respond by giving information, for example he asks: "what do you want to know?" the interviewer will reply: "you know," and walk out of the interrogation room. Then the next step on the force continuum is introduced, for example sleep deprivation, and the process will continue until the detainee's will is broken and he automatically gives up all information he is presumed to know.
    There are many problems with this technique.

    A major problem is that it is ineffective. Al Qaeda terrorists are trained to resist torture. As shocking as these techniques are to us, the al Qaeda training prepares them for much worse – the torture they would expect to receive if caught by dictatorships for example.
    This is why, as we see from the recently released Department of Justice memos on interrogation, the contractors had to keep getting authorization to use harsher and harsher methods, until they reached waterboarding and then there was nothing they could do but use that technique again and again. Abu Zubaydah had to be waterboarded 83 times and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 183 times. In a democracy there is a glass ceiling of harsh techniques the interrogator cannot breach, and a detainee can eventually call the interrogator's bluff.

    In addition the harsh techniques only serves to reinforce what the detainee has been prepared to expect if captured. This gives him a greater sense of control and predictability about his experience, and strengthens his will to resist.

    A second major problem with this technique is that evidence gained from it is unreliable. There is no way to know whether the detainee is being truthful, or just speaking to either mitigate his discomfort or to deliberately provide false information. As the interrogator isn't an expert on the detainee or the subject matter, nor has he spent time going over the details of the case, the interrogator cannot easily know if the detainee is telling the truth. This unfortunately has happened and we have had problems ranging from agents chasing false leads to the disastrous case of Ibn Sheikh al-Libby who gave false information on Iraq, al Qaeda, and WMD.

    A third major problem with this technique is that it is slow. It takes place over a long period of time, for example preventing the detainee from sleeping for 180 hours as the memos detail, or waterboarding 183 times in the case of KSM. When we have an alleged "ticking timebomb" scenario and need to get information quickly, we can't afford to wait that long.

    A fourth problem with this technique is that ignores the end game. In our country we have due process, which requires evidence to be collected in a certain way. The CIA, because of the sensitivity of its operations, by necessity, operates secretly. These two factors mean that by putting the CIA in charge of interrogations, either secrecy is sacrificed for justice and the CIA's operations are hampered, or justice is not served. Neither is a desirable outcome.

    Another disastrous consequence of the use of the harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the "Chinese Wall" between the CIA and FBI – similar to the wall that prevented us from working together to stop 9/11. In addition, the FBI and the CIA officers on the ground during the Abu Zubaydah interrogation were working together closely and effectively, until the contractors' interferences. Because we in the FBI would not be a part of the harsh techniques, the agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An FBI colleague of mine, for example, who had tracked KSM and knew more about him than anyone in the government, was not allowed to speak to him.

    Furthermore, the CIA specializes in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting intelligence. The FBI, on the other hand, has a trained investigative branch. Until that point, we were complimenting each other's expertise, until the imposition of the "enhanced methods." As a result people ended doing what they were not trained to do.

    It is also important to realize that those behind this technique are outside contractors with no expertise in intelligence operations, investigations, terrorism, or al Qaeda. Nor did the contractors have any experience in the art of interview and interrogation. One of the contractors told me this at the time, and this lack of experience has also now been recently reported on by sources familiar with their backgrounds.

    The case of the terrorist Abu Zubaydah is a good example of where the success of the Informed Interrogation Approach can be contrasted with the failure of the harsh technique approach. I have to restrict my remarks to what has been unclassified. (I will note that there is documented evidence supporting everything I will tell you today.)

    Immediately after Abu Zubaydah was captured, a fellow FBI agent and I were flown to meet him at an undisclosed location. We were both very familiar with Abu Zubaydah and have successfully interrogated al-Qaeda terrorists. We started interrogating him, supported by CIA officials who were stationed at the location, and within the first hour of the interrogation, using the Informed Interrogation Approach, we gained important actionable intelligence.
    The information was so important that, as I later learned from open sources, it went to CIA Director George Tennet who was so impressed that he initially ordered us to be congratulated. That was apparently quickly withdrawn as soon as Mr. Tennet was told that it was FBI agents, who were responsible. He then immediately ordered a CIA CTC interrogation team to leave DC and head to the location to take over from us.

    During his capture Abu Zubaydah had been injured. After seeing the extent of his injuries, the CIA medical team supporting us decided they were not equipped to treat him and we had to take him to a hospital or he would die. At the hospital, we continued our questioning as much as possible, while taking into account his medical condition and the need to know all information he might have on existing threats.

    We were once again very successful and elicited information regarding the role of KSM as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and lots of other information that remains classified. (It is important to remember that before this we had no idea of KSM's role in 9/11 or his importance in the al Qaeda leadership structure.) All this happened before the CTC team arrived.

    A few days after we started questioning Abu Zubaydah, the CTC interrogation team finally arrived from DC with a contractor who was instructing them on how they should conduct the interrogations, and we were removed. Immediately, on the instructions of the contractor, harsh techniques were introduced, starting with nudity. (The harsher techniques mentioned in the memos were not introduced or even discussed at this point.)

    The new techniques did not produce results as Abu Zubaydah shut down and stopped talking. At that time nudity and low-level sleep deprivation (between 24 and 48 hours) was being used. After a few days of getting no information, and after repeated inquiries from DC asking why all of sudden no information was being transmitted (when before there had been a steady stream), we again were given control of the interrogation.

    We then returned to using the Informed Interrogation Approach. Within a few hours, Abu Zubaydah again started talking and gave us important actionable intelligence.

    This included the details of Jose Padilla, the so-called "dirty bomber." To remind you of how important this information was viewed at the time, the then-Attorney General, John Ashcroft, held a press conference from Moscow to discuss the news. Other important actionable intelligence was also gained that remains classified.

    After a few days, the contractor attempted to once again try his untested theory and he started to re-implementing the harsh techniques. He moved this time further along the force continuum, introducing loud noise and then temperature manipulation.

    Throughout this time, my fellow FBI agent and I, along with a top CIA interrogator who was working with us, protested, but we were overruled. I should also note that another colleague, an operational psychologist for the CIA, had left the location because he objected to what was being done.

    Again, however, the technique wasn't working and Abu Zubaydah wasn't revealing any information, so we were once again brought back in to interrogate him. We found it harder to reengage him this time, because of how the techniques had affected him, but eventually, we succeeded, and he re-engaged again.

    Once again the contractor insisted on stepping up the notches of his experiment, and this time he requested the authorization to place Abu Zubaydah in a confinement box, as the next stage in the force continuum. While everything I saw to this point were nowhere near the severity later listed in the memos, the evolution of the contractor's theory, along with what I had seen till then, struck me as "borderline torture."

    As the Department of Justice IG report released last year states, I protested to my superiors in the FBI and refused to be a part of what was happening. The Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, a man I deeply respect, agreed passing the message that "we don't do that," and I was pulled out.

    As you can see from this timeline, many of the claims made in the memos about the success of the enhanced techniques are inaccurate. For example, it is untrue to claim Abu Zubaydah wasn't cooperating before August 1, 2002. The truth is that we got actionable intelligence from him in the first hour of interrogating him.

    In addition, simply by putting together dates cited in the memos with claims made, falsehoods are obvious. For example, it has been claimed that waterboarding got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Jose Padilla. But that doesn't add up: Waterboarding wasn't approved until 1August 2002 (verbally it was authorized around mid July 2002), and Padilla was arrested in May 2002.

    The same goes for KSM's involvement in 9/11: That was discovered in April 2002, while waterboarding was not introduced until almost three months later. It speaks volumes that the quoted instances of harsh interrogation methods being a success are false.

    Nor can it be said that the harsh techniques were effective, which is why we had to be called back in repeatedly. As we know from the memos, the techniques that were apparently introduced after I left did not appear to work either, which is why the memos granted authorization for harsher techniques. That continued for several months right till waterboarding was introduced, which had to be used 83 times – an indication that Abu Zubaydah had called the interrogator's bluff knowing the glass ceiling that existed.

    Authoritative CIA, FBI, and military sources have also questioned the claims made by the advocates of the techniques. For example, in one of the recently released Justice Department memos, the author, Stephen Bradbury, acknowledged a (still classified) internal CIA Inspector General report that had found it "difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks."

    In summary, the Informed Interrogation Approach outlined in the Army Field Manual is the most effective, reliable, and speedy approach we have for interrogating terrorists. It is legal and has worked time and again.

    It was a mistake to abandon it in favor of harsh interrogation methods that are harmful, shameful, slower, unreliable, ineffective, and play directly into the enemy's handbook. It was a mistake to abandon an approach that was working and naively replace it with an untested method. It was a mistake to abandon an approach that is based on the cumulative wisdom and successful tradition of our military, intelligence, and law enforcement community, in favor of techniques advocated by contractors with no relevant experience.

    The mistake was so costly precisely because the situation was, and remains, too risky to allow someone to experiment with amateurish, Hollywood style interrogation methods- that in reality- taints sources, risks outcomes, ignores the end game, and diminishes our moral high ground in a battle that is impossible to win without first capturing the hearts and minds around the world. It was one of the worst and most harmful decisions made in our efforts against al Qaeda.

    For the last seven years, it was not easy objecting to these methods when they had powerful backers. I stood up then for the same reason I'm willing to take on critics now, because I took an oath swearing to protect this great nation. I could not stand by quietly while our country's safety was endangered and our moral standing damaged.
    I know you are motivated by the same considerations, and I hope you help ensure that these grave mistakes are never made again.

    Thank you.
  2. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    http://attackerman.firedoglake.com/...g-statement-soufan-the-cia-vs-james-mitchell/

    and from Flopping aces..
    In looking at the tons of declassified documents from the CIA, two things were noticed.
    First,
    TRADITIONAL FORMS OF INTERROGATION WERE TRIED FIRST.
    Part of the criteria put forth in determining who, when, how, and why Enhanced Interrogation Techniques would be used was the REQUIREMENT that traditional interrogation methods had to be tried first, and had to have failed. Only after that had been determined (according to the declassified documents, could the process for getting authorization to use EIJ’s be pursued. If you’re lazy, just look at the table of contents and you’ll see that this was not a case of, “Woo hoo! We got so-and-so! Get a bucket!”
    ************…
    or
    media.mcclatchydc.com…
    Second,
    IT WORKED; ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE WAS GAINED
    from using EIJs.
    7/15/04
    www.politico.com…
    (Gosh, looks like they got something from the interrogations/”torture” after all. )
    Supposedly…
    September 11, 2002: Ramzi bin al-Shibh captured, purportedly as a result of intelligence gained through “torturing” Abu Zubaydah.
    www.washingtonpost.com…
    Now, was it worth it? We don’t know because the Obama Admin (despite claiming that it wasn’t) refuses to release the documents from this date and others (as requested by VP Cheney, the Washington Post, and the New York Times) which allegedly show that yes…attacks were thwarted by the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
    What are Obama and the Democrats hiding?

    .........
  3. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    well done sbark.
    There is more then enough evidence that waterboarding was critical in breaking the sheik. And we got lots of valuable INTEL after he broke.
    But you have to remember that to suspect and the rest of the far left the US is ALWAYS the villians. We are never innocent- as a matter of fact we are guilty no matter what the evidence.
  4. canters

    canters Active Member

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    Notice how the MSM rarely if ever features writers/experts who say these types of technigues work. Those who decry it and downplay effectiveness rule the day. I would wager that for every expert who criticizes the effectiveness of the technigue, at least one exists who supports the technigue.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Actually you will find that the number of people who say it cannot work is in the distinct minority of those in the intelligence business.
  6. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Interesting.

    FBI interrogator Ali Soufan is pretty clear in his testimony before the Senate committee. He states emphatically that "by the book" techniques provided actionable intelligence - and promptly, too. He even tells us what that intelligence was. He was also equally clear in stating that enhanced techniques yielded crap - and explains why in detail.

    But the rightwing torture apologist as exemplified in this thread - will ignore this and cling to 99% redacted crap from the CIA in claiming that enhanced techniques "worked!!!"

    Is it becoming increasingly more obvious with the passing of each day that enhanced tchniques were implemented with the purpose of extracting confessions that couldn't truthfully be made? That the Bush administration was desperately seeking a connection that didn't exist - one linking al Qaida to Saddam, Iraq, and WMD?

    Is it also becoming increasingly clear that the impetus for this program was issuing from the office of the Dark Side - VP Dick Vader?
  7. Scranton Tiger

    Scranton Tiger New Member

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    With this post, you just became everything that you accuse those who believe differently from you of being. A conspiracy theorist making accusations with no facts to back them up because you dislike those who believe differently from you. FYI
  8. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Well, scranton - I have yet to see Dubya piping up in his own administration's defense. Only Dick's bi-weekly claims that torture "kept our country safe" - despite absolutely ZILCH in the way of concrete facts that would support his contention. In fact, almost ALL available evidence suggests that torture only served to undermined our national purpose.

    And if you haven't noticed the allusions from the intelligence community to Cheney calling this shot - what can I say but sorry you missed them. I can't imagine how you didn't accidently trip over a few as they are profuse and growing.

    And I'd love to hear from you once the dust settles on this. But I won't. You'll disappear into the ether just as the high-ranking administration officials responsible for this abortion begin to face the music - whatever that tune may be.
  9. CowboyFan74

    CowboyFan74 Cowboys Analyst

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    Fingers:

    [IMG]


    Meet


    [IMG]
  10. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

    7,568 Messages
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    Still, some will be unsalvagable and revel in their own inhumanity - as well as the ignorance of their previously elected representatives. They will feel proud of actions that should rightfully generate at least a degree of shame and introspection.
  11. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Cheney's Role Deepens

    by Robert Windrem / The Daily Beast / 05.14.2009

    Former NBC News investigative producer Robert Windrem reports that the vice president’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner who was suspected of knowing about a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam.

    Robert Windrem, who covered terrorism for NBC, reports exclusively in The Daily Beast that:

    *Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.

    *The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.

    *Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more than 30 sessions of torture of detainees.

    At the end of April 2003, not long after the fall of Baghdad, U.S. forces captured an Iraqi who Bush White House officials suspected might provide information of a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime. Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi was the head of the M-14 section of Mukhabarat, one of Saddam’s secret police organizations. His responsibilities included chemical weapons and contacts with terrorist groups.

    “To those who wanted or suspected a relationship, he would have been a guy who would know, so [White House officials] had particular interest,” Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraqi Survey Group and the man in charge of interrogations of Iraqi officials, told me. So much so that the officials, according to Duelfer, inquired how the interrogation was proceeding.

    In his new book, Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq, and in an interview with The Daily Beast, Duelfer says he heard from “some in Washington at very senior levels (not in the CIA),” who thought Khudayr’s interrogation had been “too gentle” and suggested another route, one that they believed has proven effective elsewhere. “They asked if enhanced measures, such as waterboarding, should be used,” Duelfer writes. “The executive authorities addressing those measures made clear that such techniques could legally be applied only to terrorism cases, and our debriefings were not as yet terrorism-related. The debriefings were just debriefings, even for this creature.”

    Duelfer will not disclose who in Washington had proposed the use of waterboarding, saying only: “The language I can use is what has been cleared.” In fact, two senior U.S. intelligence officials at the time tell The Daily Beast that the suggestion to waterboard came from the Office of Vice President Cheney. Cheney, of course, has vehemently defended waterboarding and other harsh techniques, insisting they elicited valuable intelligence and saved lives. He has also asked that several memoranda be declassified to prove his case. (The Daily Beast placed a call to Cheney’s office and will post a response if we get one.)

    Without admitting where the suggestion came from, Duelfer revealed that he considered it reprehensible and understood the rationale as political—and ultimately counterproductive to the overall mission of the Iraq Survey Group, which was assigned the mission of finding Saddam Hussein’s WMD after the invasion.

    “Everyone knew there would be more smiles in Washington if WMD stocks were found,” Duelfer said in the interview. “My only obligation was to find the truth. It would be interesting if there was WMD in May 2003, but what was more interesting to me was looking at the entire regime through the slice of WMD.”

    But, Duelfer says, Khudayr in fact repeatedly denied knowing the location of WMD or links between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda and was not subjected to any enhanced interrogation. Duelfer says the idea that he would have known of such links was “ludicrous".

    This proposed use of enhanced interrogation techniques, or torture, in Iraq was not the only time these methods were actually used to derive information for a purpose other than the stated one—to derive intelligence about imminent threats to the United States following the 9/11 attacks.

    An extensive analysis I conducted as a reporter for NBC News of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report and its monograph on terrorist travel showed that much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was based on the CIA's interrogations of high-ranking al Qaeda operatives who had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques."

    More than one-quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al Qaeda operatives subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations was central to the 9/11 Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.

    The NBC analysis also showed—and agency and commission staffers concur—there was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, specifically conducted to answer new questions from the 9/11 Commission after its lawyers had been left unsatisfied by the agency’s internal interrogation reports.

    Human-rights advocates, including Karen Greenberg of New York University Law School’s Center for Law and Security and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, have said that, at the least, the 9/11 Commission should have been more suspect of the information derived under such pressure.

    Commission executive director Philip Zelikow (later counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) admitted, "We were not aware, but we guessed, that things like that were going on. We were wary…we tried to find different sources to enhance our credibility." (Zelikow testified before the Senate on Wednesday, May 13, that he had argued in a 2005 memo that some of the tactics used on suspected terrorists violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.)

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official told me the Commission never expressed any concerns about techniques and even pushed for a second round of interrogations in early 2004, as the Commission was finishing up its work. The second round of interrogations sought by the Commission involved more than 30 separate interrogation sessions.

    "Remember," the intelligence official said, "the Commission had access to the intelligence reports that came out of the interrogation. This didn't satisfy them. They demanded direct personal access to the detainees and the administration told them to go pound sand.”

    "As a compromise, they were allowed to let us know what questions they would have liked to ask the detainees. At appropriate times in the interrogation cycle, agency questioners would go back and re-interview the detainees. Many of [those] questions were variants or follow-ups to stuff previously asked."

    At least four operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being "tortured." Those claims came during their hearings in the spring of 2007 at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    For Duelfer, an experienced interrogator, the details now being laid out in CIA and White House memoranda and in congressional hearings cannot be justified. While admitting that the interrogators faced enormous pressure in 2002 and 2003, he said he had problems with the overall strategy.

    “Interrogation is about two humans who are face to face, sweat to sweat. Is your hand going to hit them?” he notes. “That’s a relationship that becomes very deep. If you are going to reach someone at an intellectual or emotive level, it’s hard to see how you can do that and still be the person who accosts that person. I don’t know how to do that.”

    Robert Windrem is a Senior Reserach Fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security. For three decades, he worked as a producer for NBC News. During that time, he focused on issues of international security, strategic policy, intelligence and terrorism. He is the winner of more than 40 national journalism awards for his work in print, television, and online journalism, including a Columbia-duPont Award, mostly for his work on international security issues.


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    A hat's-off to Concord...
  12. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    This needed it's own thread. :D

    Oh what a tangled web we weave. ;)
  13. Scranton Tiger

    Scranton Tiger New Member

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    From your reply it's clear to see you have already decided which way I see things on this issue. Confusing since I didn't say I agreed with either method. That is ultimately my point. In debates about VERY sensitive issues, everytime you assume something, you only lose credibility and weaken your own case. Everytime you resort to sarcasm or name calling, you lose credibilty and weaken your case. Again, FYI
  14. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    Card stacking at it's finest. :laugh2:
  15. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    This is inaccurate. The facts are there. They just are not being released.
  16. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    The most interesting part for me was the mention of 'private contractor' interrogators. Already in place, so early on. And what better way to slip responsibility for your techniques than to go outside government channels. I recall an article that tied a high up private consultant type to Rumsfield, this a guy who was in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib when they were 'toughening up' their techniques. He was, iirc, someone who had been in the US Penal system and had been fired for abuse.

    While the bozos at Abu Ghraib were dim bulbs for passing around photos of their handywork, in their defenses, they all mentioned being asked by spooks and private contractors to 'soften up' the subjects.

    And who knows what went on in the secret prisons in Eastern Europe.

    The statements that these techniques worked, and worked well are pretty much pro forma. Having stepped over that line, they have to claim that it worked. Otherwise they look both evil and incompetant.
  17. CowboyFan74

    CowboyFan74 Cowboys Analyst

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    Blowing up my kin folk vs bolt cutters, hmmmm...
  18. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    It might be shocking to some, but when you claim the moral high ground, people often expect you to live up to it.

    When we look at these radicals' pious claims and compare it with their actions, we rightly think 'These guys are monsters!'. At the same time, our talk of moral superiority, and, say, bolt cutters, do not match up well.
  19. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    This piece of fiction is all well and good but ask yourself, why do we have to bring in foreign assitance in the first place?
  20. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I don't talk of moral superiority. I simply say whatever it takes to insure victory and protect the Country.

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