CIA Denies Waterboarding Used To Get False Confession on Iraq

May 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

We’re starting to get closer to the truth. The CIA, lying in the past, has to constantly correct itself as new information comes out, now basically confirms that both Zubaydah and KSM were questioned about connections to Iraq.

Senior intelligence officials yesterday acknowledged that two al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been questioned about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq when the two men underwent CIA interrogation in 2002 and 2003. But the officials denied that the questioning on Iraq had included waterboarding.

“The two top priorities driving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were information on the locations of al-Qaeda leadership and plots against the United States,” one intelligence official said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject publicly. “Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period,” he added.

Recent media accounts have reported allegations that the waterboardings of Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, were ordered by Bush administration officials seeking to find evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, which the officials sought as a justification for military action against Iraq.

The notion of such a link had emerged in a report from Czech intelligence, repeated publicly by then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney, that prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the leader of the plot had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer. CIA officials later decided the Czech report was not supported by evidence.

The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo Web sites yesterday focused new attention on portions of a 2004 Senate report that said Abu Zubaida and Mohammed had been questioned about Iraq.

The CIA told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2004 that Abu Zubaida said he was “not aware of a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda,” but that he had heard some network members had good contacts with Iraqis. He named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who became leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, as having relationships with Iraqi intelligence. But Abu Zubaida added that he believed it was “extremely unlikely” that Osama bin Laden would ally himself with Iraq.

The Senate committee’s report said the CIA had noted that “questions regarding al-Qaeda’s ties to the Iraqi regime were among the first presented” to Mohammed, and that Mohammed, the planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, said he was “unaware of any collaborative relationship” between al-Qaeda and Hussein’s government.

Mr. Pincus is not doing us a favor here, by not showing the context. KSM was waterboarded in March 2003. That’s the month we invaded Iraq. KSM, according to OLC memos, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. Why would the CIA need to waterboard KSM 6 times a day in the month of March? And I bet you one pretty penny that 90% of those 183 times came before March 20, 2003. That would be the day we invaded Iraq. And I bet you another pretty penny that once the war was started, the CIA was ordered to stop waterboarding KSM. I bet you that in April 2003, KSM was not waterboarded at all. Nor in May 2003.

So Jay Bybee gave a legal stamp of approval to waterboarding an Al-Qaeda operative to try and get a false confession on the ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

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