Torture Produced False Leads

The WaPo has a 4 page expose today on the fact that the waterboarding and “rough interrogation of Abu Zubaida produced false leads.” It’s really quite a read:

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.

Topping it off, former president George W. Bush had publicly described Abu Zubaida “as “al-Qaeda’s chief of operations,” and other top officials called him a “trusted associate” of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.

Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources.

Torture doesn’t work. The Bush Administration didn’t care. They abandoned the law, they spat on the Geneva Convention, and they sullied our good name in the world.

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