Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CIA ex-agent says waterboarding OK’d at the top

December 12, 2007


— CIA Director Michael Hayden, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Tuesday, failed to answer central questions about the destruction of secret videotapes showing harsh interrogation of terror suspects, the panel's chairman said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the committee's 90-minute session with Hayden "a useful and not yet complete hearing" and vowed the committee would get to the bottom of the matter. Among lingering questions: Who authorized destruction of the tapes, and why Congress wasn't told about it?

Hayden told reporters afterward that he had "a chance to lay out the narrative, the history of why the tapes were destroyed" and the process that led to that decision. But since the tapes were made under one of his predecessors, George Tenet, and destroyed under another, Porter Goss, he wasn't able to completely answer all questions, he said.

"Other people in the agency know about this far better than I," Hayden said, and promised the committee he would make those witnesses available.

A similar session is set for today, when Hayden appears before the panel's House counterpart.

Tuesday's hearing came as a former CIA agent who was part of the interrogation team went public with his account, saying the waterboarding of a top al-Qaida figure was approved at the top levels of the U.S. government.

According to the former agent, waterboarding of terror suspect Abu Zubaydah got him to talk in less than 35 seconds. The technique, which critics say is torture, probably disrupted "dozens" of planned al-Qaida attacks, said John Kiriakou, a leader of the team that captured Abu Zubaydah, a major al-Qaida figure.

Kiriakou did not explain how he knew who approved the interrogation technique but said such approval comes from top officials. He did not witness or participate in the waterboarding, he said.

"This isn't something done willy-nilly. This isn't something where an agency officer just wakes up in the morning and decides he's going to carry out an enhanced technique on a prisoner," he said Tuesday in a round of television news show appearances. "This was a policy made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and Justice Department."

At the White House, press secretary Dana Perino said the CIA interrogation program approved by the president is safe, tough, effective and legal.

"It's no secret that the president approved a lawful program in order to interrogate hardened terrorists," Perino said. "We do not torture. We also know that this program has saved lives by disrupting terrorist attacks."

Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee taken by the CIA in 2002, is now being held with other detainees at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He told his interrogators about alleged 9/11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh, and the two men's confessions also led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who the U.S. government said was the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Waterboarding is a harsh interrogation technique that involves strapping down a prisoner, covering his mouth with plastic or cloth and pouring water over his face. The prisoner quickly begins to inhale water, causing the sensation of drowning.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"The prisoner quickly begins to inhale water, causing the sensation of drowning."

Yes, unless they are comatose or unconscious, it's a universal that a drowning person will have the sensation of drowning.

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years, 5 months ago

And this is not torture? Wonder how they would feel if it were their child being given the "sensation" of drowning? Jeez.

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

To prove that it is not torture and is safe Bush and Chaney should volunteer to have it administered to themselves.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"We should do what ever it takes to extract information that could save innocent lives."

Perhaps you should get in line. Who knows what information you might have. Information that even you are unaware of having. I mean, we can't be too careful, can we?

gccs14r 10 years, 5 months ago

Choose your enemies carefully, for you will come to resemble them. --Sun Tzu

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 5 months ago

Water boarding has not produced Osama's where abouts. so tell me again how effective it is.

If you think things will magically get better with Osama's capture, you're kidding yourself. There are a thousand people waiting to fill his shoes.

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

Dollypawpaw (Anonymous) says: "Waterboarding is a tried and true method of getting information from worthless humans."

Well, then it should definitely work on you, Dollypawpaw.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"We love Death. The US loves life."

Osama is a deranged wacko. The BushCo chicken hawks love death just as much as he does. They especially love the deaths of those who stand in their way of empire-- you know, innocent women and children.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"All throughout history we have had weak pansies that are afraid to do what is necessary to protect the innocent, looks like things never change. Thank goodness for the strong. I hope some terrorist is getting dunked right now."

And all through history, there have been sadistic murderers who believe that their violence is somehow "anointed by God." Osama believes that. Bush believes that. And apparently, you believe that.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"All throughout history we have had weak pansies that are afraid to do what is necessary to protect the innocent, looks like things never change. Thank goodness for the strong. I hope some terrorist is getting dunked right now."

Argument based on false premise: "torture works, I saw Jack Bauer do it." Pretty sure the founding fathers were not weak pansies, and they didn't find it necessary to torture people. Probably because even 230 years ago, they knew that torture doesn't work. Weak pansies are people who talk about how we need to crush opponants, go to war, and make long as they themselves don't have to be crushed, go to war, or make sacrifices. I'm calling you out by (screen) name: Dollypawpaw, Kozakid, Right_Thinker, Justfornow, et. al.

lildos 10 years, 5 months ago

Dollypawpaw (Anonymous) says: "Waterboarding is a tried and true method of getting information from worthless humans."

Slavery was as tried and true means of production for millennia. Maybe we should go back to that, since it worked so well.

Torture is good at getting information, not necessarily the correct information. People under duress will say what their enemy wants, so saying it is tried and true methid is a stretch.

What is a worthless human exactly? I would love for someone to elaborate on that...

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 5 months ago

Now that the Bush administration has failed miserably to even come close to Osama's capture (even with supposedly effective techniques like waterboarding), it isn't that important? Give me a break.

Yeah, I guess you're right. When they catch Osama, all terrorism will end and there will be world peace. I stand corrected.

UKept 10 years, 5 months ago

Whether or not the information gained from torture is truthful or useful is immaterial. To profess to be a country that spreads liberty and democracy across the globe while dragging men naked and chained out of their cells to take 'World's Funniest Video' photo shoots and simulating drowing on people is hypocritical and vile. Thing is--we should, and can, be better than that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"No you have not because your one of the weak. The strong will prevail."

An al Qaeda Jihadi couldn't have said it better.

Alyosha 10 years, 5 months ago

Do keep in mind that after WW II we (Americans) tried Japanese soldiers who committed waterboarding on US soldiers with war crimes and got convictions. One Japanese soldier was sentenced by Americans to 15 years hard labor for practicing waterboarding upon US prisoners.

An interesting exercise left to other commenters would be to explore how waterboarding in one circumstance is a war crime and in another is not a war crime .

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's ask Sen. John McCain if torture is a good thing. I'm sure he will have a valid opinion.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 5 months ago

Weak pansies, like that guy Jesus. Telling his people to turn the other cheek, instead of killing those Roman soldiers. What a wimp. (sarcasm)

Thank goodness for those in the past who behaved honorably, not cruelly. How are you different than Osama, Hitler, Stalin, etc. if you think it's ok to torture? You aren't.

As for getting information - if you were being tortured wouldn't you tell the creeps torturing you anything they wanted to make them stop? True or not. Torture does not work, and it kills the souls of the people who do it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"Your starting to figure it out bozo."

I figured it out a long time ago-- Bush and Osama, you and the jihadi, are just opposite sides of the same criminally insane coin.

MCwzMC 10 years, 5 months ago

Proponents of Torture -

Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of the merits of torture. I'd say you have it pretty much figured out. Your logic is impeccable. Your postings are a credit to America.

Now if I could direct your talents to the real problem - figuring out who actually has pertinent information?

If you would read through the lines a bit, you would realize that torture serves a purpose ONLY IF the person actually knows anything of value.

So torture proponents, if you feel so strongly about continuing the use of torture, do something constructive - help the government find these terrorists and thereby procure vital anti-terrorism intelligence.

Because you are most certainly not going to do something that constructive: Please :Continue to post your tough-talking pro-torture rhetoric on the message board. Continue to solve the world's problems by restating the obvious. And, of course, continue (however ineptly) to attack arguments made by anyone with enough brains to actually question the merits of torture.

Alyosha 10 years, 5 months ago

It's not "BDS" or anything else other than this: at one time, after WWII, the US prosecuted others for committing waterboarding; the official stance of the US government was that waterboarding was a war crime.

Some Americans -- call them conservatives if you like -- still hold that traditional belief that waterboarding is torture and a war crime meriting prosecution.

Other Americans have now rejected that traditional belief and now believe that waterboarding is okay.

It's really as simple as that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"Now if I could direct your talents to the real problem - figuring out who actually has pertinent information?"

If you aren't a pansie, the answer to that question is really easy. You just assume everybody is a terrorist with pertinent information, and torture is the only way to extract.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

Viva John Wayne!! If they can do it in the movies, they can do it in real life.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

I've found Osama bin Laden. He's posting as justfornow on the JDub forums.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"I'm for water boarding and any forms of torture that extract information that saves innocent lives."

Error 401: Logical connection failed. Remove lies and restart.

Alyosha 10 years, 5 months ago

"At one time, Senator Harry Reid would be brought up on charges of treason, among many other Defeat-O-Crats and far-left journalists."


The subject is waterboarding. Let's stay on topic.

The US used to define waterboarding as torture, and we prosecuted Japanese soldiers who did it as war criminals. We sentenced one Japanese soldier convicted of the war crime of waterboarding to 15 years hard labor.

Nothing about waterboarding has changed. The technique is still the same.

The only thing that has changed is that some Americans are now willing to support and cheerlead for an interrogation technique that we as a country are on record as prosecuting as a war crime when done by the Japanese.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"disapproving of Bush, even if strongly disapproving, and far-left lunacy are two different animals. So don't confuse the two."

Right....better to play like you do R_T and make no distinction: anyone who disagrees with dear Leader is a far-left looney who aids the terrorists. -rolls eyes-

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 5 months ago

"If your fighting on the battlefield and capture a enemy combatant that guy is not innocent"

by that logic american soldiers would not be innocent, and therefore you would agree that the enemy is justified in torturing the american soldier.

I think most captured G.I.'s would prefer having water poured over their face rather than the usual method of beheading or having their burned bodies dragged through the streets.

I'm still against waterboarding though.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"Just ask a simple honest question of yourselves, do you want to be the loser in this war?"

Huh??? What war? We're not at war, the marine corps is at war, but we are not at war. Our dear Leader told us not to sacrifice, conserve, or otherwise do what's necessary. No, we were told to go to the mall and shop. If we were at war, there would be a draft, there would be rationing, there would be leaders worth following, the rest of the world would be with us, and country would be united in a worthy purpose. None of this has come to pass.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, cause that's a real possibility. -rolls eyes yet again-

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

It won't happen because of Geography you dolt. You, justfornow, are not strong. You are weak and scared. Genocides start with minds like yours.

Alyosha 10 years, 5 months ago

Rather than we who have no experience, let's take it from someone who does:

"A former Navy survival instructor subjected to waterboarding as part of his military training told Congress yesterday that the controversial tactic should plainly be considered torture and that such a method was never intended for use by U.S. interrogators because it is a relic of abusive totalitarian governments."

"Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a counterterrorism specialist who taught at the Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school in California, likened waterboarding to drowning and said those who experience it will say or do anything to make it stop, rendering the information they give nearly useless."

"'In my case, the technique was so fast and professional that I didn't know what was happening until the water entered my nose and throat,' Nance testified yesterday at a House oversight hearing on torture and enhanced interrogation techniques. 'It then pushes down into the trachea and starts the process of respiratory degradation. It is an overwhelming experience that induces horror and triggers frantic survival instincts. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.'"

gccs14r 10 years, 5 months ago

So if you get good intel only 10% of the time, how do you separate the good from the bad? Do you chase down everybody they name and lock all of them up in foreign prisons for decades, whether they're guilty or not? Isn't that what Stalin did (those he didn't execute right away, that is)? Is that your vision for America?

ndmoderate 10 years, 5 months ago

Missouri Senator Kit Bond (R) was interviewed today. Here's one question, and how he answered it:

"IFILL: I just would like to - but do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?

SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. It's like swimming: freestyle, backstroke. The waterboarding could be used almost to define some of the techniques that our trainees are put through, but that's beside the point. It's not being used."

Now there's a giant steamy pile of road apples for you, courtesy of a sitting U.S. Senator! Someone needs to fill him in. If any of you are his constituents...

pace 10 years, 5 months ago

It leaves me ashamed to think that sadism is so accepted. We have lost if the is no shame. What a bunch of gangsters we have become under Bush. He and his cronies have led us to become beasts.

blindrabbit 10 years, 5 months ago

Pity the poor U.S. service person who is captured and knows that he/she is facing their captors knowing that the U.S. has lost it's high ground on the torture issue. It would be interesting to know if Dollypawpaw, Justfornow, Mr_Ramirez and Right_Thinker ever served in the military; my guess is that they did not! From my experience both in the military and in civilian life, the individuals like those listed above probably Did Not serve; and therefore do not understand the cosequences. That is surely the case of "W" who avoided the real military by joining then AWOling a "military country club" and Cheney who dubiously 4F'd several times to avoid Nam. No doubt Conspiracy whackos!

blindrabbit 10 years, 5 months ago

Right_thinker: Spineless answers: If you really cared for your country as much as you profess, why would it matter if 1979 was a relatively peaceful time as an excuse for not going into the service. Also, if you were 18, why did your mother have that much influence over you decision making process! As for the college comment, many of us vets either went to school before or after the service; does college make you exempt from your professed desire to serve. Too much passion for flawed thinking.

I agree the discussion has digressed somewhat from the original topic; but you simplistic responses indicate a real misunderstanding of what you profess. Grow up!!

blindrabbit 10 years, 5 months ago

Pilgrim: Lucky for the military! Of course, many undesirables/unadaptables washed out even in Basic for a variety of reasons. Would you have survived that attrition? Your attempted joke about torture indicates an insensitivity that results from apparent narrowmindedness and simplicity. Suggest you go back to defending Sweet Sue, Lavern, Dave and the CC.

werekoala 10 years, 5 months ago

What should be the penalty if a US Government agent uses waterboarding on a suspect who turns out to be innocent?

That's what this whole thing is about, in a nutshell. Actual, honest-to-god woman-and-child-murdering scumbags, no one really cares about.

But what about people we just THINK have information we need? How sure do we have to be to lock them up and throw away the key? Or to waterboard them, or in other ways torture information out of them in the hope we get actionable intelligence?

It's a serious question that the whole "ticking bomb" scenario completely avoids. As does the highfalutin' rhetoric about how these bastards want us dead.

In the real world, almost nothing is 100% sure. For every known Al Qaeda operative, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people we only suspect of being involved. And so we have to ask ourselves: does America torture a guy we think only has a 50% chance of knowing something? A 25% chance? A 1% chance?

Where is the line drawn? And what penalties should apply if a person is incorrectly tortured?

Here's my compromise: yes, you can torture a guy you think has life-saving intelligence. But if you cannot PROVE a SINGLE life has been saved by the information that was gained; whoever authorized and administered the torture should do 40 years hard time.

I eagerly anticipate the replies that will educate me on the necessity of breaking eggs to make an omelet.

salad 10 years, 5 months ago

"I'm serious now, that has got to be the most stupid and naive comment to date in LJW, an award winning forum.

Keep thinking that salad. Wow!"

HA!!! R_T, you don't even understand what I meant do you!!! HA! Hi pot, I'm a kettle, you're black. Talk about stupid, you don't even have the faintest clue with that ten cent head of yours. In the future, I'll try and use smaller words, so even you can understand......see, the head chopin' terrorists are all 12,000 miles away, they can't touch me, you, or any of us. Get it, geography....maybe you shoulda paid attention in highschool.

whatupdown 10 years, 5 months ago

I love to go waterboarding at lake Clinton.

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