"Enhanced interrogations" effectively obtain info, save lives Interrogations of Khalid Sheik Mohammad
resulted in confessions pertaining to the 9/11 atacks, the capture of other terrorists, and actionable
intelligence used to thwart 'following up' plans for weapons of mass destruction to be used on America,
including anthrax and dirty bomb operations.,
Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’
‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later
acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower,
the tallest building on the West Coast. The memo explains that “information obtained from KSM also led
to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell,
a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave.’ ” In other words,
without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one
in New York.
Zayn Abidin Muhammed Hussein abu Zubaida, the first high-ranking al-Qaeda member captured after
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, broke in less than a minute after he was subjected to the technique and
began providing interrogators with information that led to the disruption of several planned attacks,
said John Kiriakou, who served as a CIA interrogator in Pakistan.
The waterboarding of 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 Zubaydah, a major al-Qaida figure.
Enhanced interrogations are necessary in ticking time bomb scenario According to an American Thinker
article on April 21, 2009, "Even Obama's hand-picked CIA Director, has admitted that he might consent
to enhanced interrogation techniques under a 'ticking time bomb' scenario. And that is exactly the scenario
in which the techniques were used during the Bush administration.".
Writing for JustOneMinute, Toby Maguire looks at these articles and analyses them superbly. His conclusion:
The OLC memos make it clear that deterring attacks was the lesser benefit of the enhanced interrogation
program. The real value was in learning the names, leads, motivations, and the organization of Al Qaeda.
For instance, information from Khalid Sheik Mohammed led to the arrest of Hambali, a leader of the group
responsible for the Bali bombing. That may or may not have disrupted a specific attack (Hambali was
working on the Library Tower attack and his first team was arrested prior to KSM’s arrest and interrogation),
but the arrests clearly had value. Put it this way – would capturing Bin Laden have value even if it did
not disrupt a specific attack?
To ensure new "enhanced interrogation" techniques did not cross the line into torture (by causing "severe
and long-lasting" pain) after 9/11, the U.S. Department of Justice required health professionals to be
present during many CIA interrogation sessions with detainees.
Admiral Dennis C. Blair
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo
last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant
information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a
deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis
C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush
administration legal memos...
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted
from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday
The sources told ABC that the techniques, while progressively aggressive, are not deemed torture, and
the debate among intelligence officers as to whether they are effective should not be underestimated.
There are many who feel these techniques, properly supervised, are both valid and necessary, the sources
said. While harsh, they say, they are not torture and are reserved only for the most important and
most difficult prisoners.
A redacted version of the CIA Inspector General Report on the CIA interrogation program was released
today. Media coverage seems to imply that CIA interrogators were constantly going beyond programmatic
guidance, where the IG Report found the reality to be that “there were few instances of deviations from
approved procedures.” IG Report page 5, para 10. Additionally, the media today has latched on to the
use of a gun in an interrogation, without usually reporting the other important element of that salacious
story, which is that the interrogator was promptly disciplined for his actions. Joby Warrick and R.
Jeffrey Smith, CIA Officer Disciplined for Alleged Gun Use in Interrogation, Wash Post (Aug. 23, 2009).
Similarly going unreported today is that the release of the IG report should finally put to rest claims
that the CIA interrogation program was not effective and did not produce actionable intelligence, made,
for example, by Senator Whitehouse on the floor of the Senate on June 9, 2009. Analysis of the
effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program in the IG Report reveals the following:
• “Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation
of terrorists who were planning attacks, in particular, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah,
Hambali, and Al-Nashiri.” page 88 para 217.
• After the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques on the bomber of the USS Cole,
“al-Nashiri provided lead information on other terrorists during his first day of interrogation.”
pages 35-36, para 76.
• Hambali “provided information that led to the arrest of previously unknown members of an
Al-Qa’ida cell in Karachi.” page 87 para 216.
• Intelligence derived from the CIA interrogation program led to a general increase in relevant intelligence
reports, producing over 3,000 intelligence reports between 9/11 and the end of April 2003. page 86 para 213.
• A redacted entity “judge the reporting from detainees as one of the most important sources for finished
intelligence.” Similarly, another redacted entity “viewed analysts’ knowledge of the terrorist target as having
much more depth as a result of information from detainees and estimated that detainee reporting is used
in all counterterrorism articles produced for the most senior policymakers.” page 88 para 218.
Analysis of the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program in documents released with the CIA IG
report reveals the following:
• “Results from the first al Qaeda HVT interrogated using the aforementioned enhanced techniques,
Abu Zubayda, have been outstanding. . . . This has ultimately led to some instances of the US Government
being able to neutralize Al Qaeda capabilities worldwide before there was an opportunity for those
capabilities to engage in operations harmful to the United States.” CIA Business Plan discussing RDI
program, page 13, March 7, 2003.
• “using the quality of the intelligence as the yardstick, the program has been an absolute success.”
Interview with a senior CIA officer regarding CIA RDI program, page 1, para 2, July 17, 2003.
• “there was no other way CTC [CIA Counterterrorist Center] could have gotten the information they
have obtained from the detainees.” Interview with a senior CIA officer regarding CIA RDI program,
page 1, para 2, July 17, 2003.
• “detainees have provided information that led to the arrest of other terrorists Zubadayh provided
information that led to the raid that netted Ramzi Bin al-Shibh.” Interview with a senior CIA officer
regarding CIA RDI program, page 2, para 3, July 17, 2003.
• al Nashiri “is providing actionable intelligence” after the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques.
Spot report regarding interrogation of al Nashiri, page 1, para 2, Jan. 22, 2003.
It is unclear why two other documents analyzing the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program,
namely the CIA CTC Effectiveness Memo and the CIA DI Khalid Sheikh Mohammad Preeminent
Source Memo, were not released contemporaneously with the IG report. DOJ legal opinions, for example,
have cited the Effectiveness Memo for the proposition that “the intelligence acquired from these
interrogations has been a key reason why al-Qa’ida has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West
since 11 September 2001.” OLC CAT Memo, page 8, May 30, 2005.
The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced
Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence
saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a
role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in
carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by
al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve
our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. President
Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel,
and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a
reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration’s
ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.
That version of events is starkly different than the one reported by ABC News in December 2007, when
former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was involved in the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah, claimed he
had only been waterboarded once for 35 seconds.
"The next day, he told his interrogators that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him
to cooperate," said Kiriakou in an interview...
"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided
disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."