Information Secured Through Torture Proved Unreliable, CIA Concluded

Peter Finn and Joby Warrick at the Washington Post:

When CIA officials subjected their first
high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh
interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their
custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be
unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White
House to get those secrets out of him. The methods succeeded in
breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent
CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end,
though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu
Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government
officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the
leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while
most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida - chiefly names of
al-Qaeda members and associates - was obtained before waterboarding was
introduced, they said.

Lie No. 1: We do not torture. Since that doesn't work any more, it's time for the fallback.

Lie No. 2: We saved thousands of American lives by torture.

Note that Dick Cheney makes bald claims to the effect that
the security and safety of the nation rests on the use of torture
techniques that he introduced and hammered down on intelligence agents
who didn't want to use them. He doesn't ever cite a for-instance. When
pressed, he insists that this is all "top secret." This is another
instance of the use of security classifications to cover lies-in this
case, lies on top of other lies.

The truth is very clear. President Bush's torture
techniques provided our terrorist adversaries with their most
compelling recruitment theme ever. Thousands were mustered to their
side as a result. Four thousand Americans died in Iraq as a
consequence, and thousands of other Americans suffered severe injuries
from IEDs and other attacks. And the balance? Did America secure any
meaningful, actionable intelligence through the use of torture? Let's
turn to Bush's FBI Director for the answer. Here's the close of David
Rose's memorable recent article in Vanity Fair:

I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have
any attacks on America been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained
through what the administration still calls "enhanced techniques"? "I'm
really reluctant to answer that," Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an
aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: "I don't believe that has been the case."

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