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Waterboarding Used 266 Times On 2 Suspects

April 20, 2009

You can’t make this stuff up.

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr. Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation methods, causing C.I.A. officers to worry that they might have crossed legal limits and to halt his questioning. But the precise number and the exact nature of the interrogation method was not previously known.

The release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods that the Justice Department under the Bush administration declared legal even though the United States had historically treated them as torture.

  1. Patrick permalink
    April 20, 2009 6:52 PM

    I think the key sentence here is:”Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.” We hear all the time that practices like these don’t reveal necessary information. But it appears that both subjects surrendered real and true information after waterboarding. Perhaps before we eliminate such techniques we should consider what alternative methds we will employ to get the information. Saying “please” might not be an effective alternative.

    Personally, I have no real problem with waterboarding terrorists or accused terrorists. Some argue that we beome like them, but I think any rational person knows there is a real differences between what the CIA was doing and the “interrogation” methods employed by the islamic terrorists. Likewise, no end of scorn and ridicule should be forgotten in regard to the members of congress who were briefed about these methods but now feign outrage–like Pelosi. Life must be wonderful for the democrats who daily re-write history to excuse themselves of one hypocrisy after another.

  2. reaganiterepublican permalink
    April 20, 2009 1:48 PM


    If the tables were turned, this 7th-century savage would have been chopping our heads off while making a video of it.

    Water boarding is not a near-drowning technique. The subject is never in danger of drowning. And water boarding is not torture… no physical harm to the subject.

    Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed is a bad guy, and US interrigators obtained valuable info from him using this technique- who cares how many times it took? It was up to him how long before he decided to cooperate, didn’t have to be this way necessarily- apparently he clung stubbornly to a bad decision, sounds like something he’d do.

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