In it anonymous FBI and CIA affiliates argue about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.
Basically the FBI wanted to use standard psychological techniques and the CIA wanted to use torture. The CIA had operational control and torture was used.
I learned various things from this article.
1. Many people are not very afraid of Karl Rove any more. All sources are anonymous but they are clearly numerous and all would be in trouble if they were identified. The executive branch is leaking like a sieve. Deterence due to the Plame outing is not working anymore.
2. Abu Zubaydah is a source of accusations against Jose Padilla. It is possible that he is the only source. The FBI associated source(s) claim he accused Padilla before he was tortured. It is clear that there is some sort of evidence concerning Padilla that is absolutely not admissible in court. No surprise that some (or all) of it came from Abu Zubaydah, but now we know.
3. No one seems to contest the claim (also made by Suskind in "The 1 % Doctrine" that Zubaydah's role in al Qaeda was much over estimated before his capture.
4. Zubaydah was tortured as the word is used by all people who don't work for Bush.
5. The CIA was given the lead role in interrogation with no experience in interrogation. This shows the Bush administrations contempt for experience and expertise yet again.
6. People can't agree about facts which should be obvious now. Basically someone seems to repeat a belief which has been proven false as if it were proven true.
These officials said that he proved a wily adversary. “He was lying, and things were going nowhere,” one official briefed on the matter said of the early interviews. “It was clear that he had information about an imminent attack and time was of the essence.”
Several officials said the belief that Mr. Zubaydah might have possessed critical information about a coming terrorist operation figured significantly in the decision to employ tougher tactics, even though it later became apparent he had no such knowledge.
So is it clear that he did know about an imminent or apparent that he didn't ?
The officials who claim it was clear that he did know do not seem to have said what the then imminent attack was or if it was stymied. They certainly don't claim that Zubaydah ever revealed useful information on that imminent attack. It seems to me clear that there was no such imminent attack (we would have heard and heard and heard of it being blocked if it had been and it would have been named by the official if it had taken place).
This official seems to be either stupid or insane. He claims an attack was imminent but doesn't seem to mention if it was blocked or if it occured. I think he doesn't know what "imminent" means, although he might use "was clear" to mean "seemed clear" or "we were 1% sure that".
The claimed benefits of torture are vague and weak "He soon began to provide information on key Al Qaeda operators to help us find and capture those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.” Note the claim is even weaker than Bush's claim that the information did indeed help the US find and capture terrorists. If the information had been key to later captures, it would have been described in more detail (it is no longer critical to keep it secret since it is years old). The claim is consistent with Abu Zubaydah confirming known information, making claims which might or might not be true or giving minor information which might conceivably have been used in some way but was not in fact used to capture anyone. I assume that if there was a stronger claim which was not demonstrably false it would have been made and conclude that no useful information was obtained by torturing Abu Zubaydah.
Notice the importance of the 1% doctrine combined with the ticking time bomb argument. Given the sort of insane idiots who decide to torture, allowing torture in the case of a ticking time bomb means accepting a huge amount of torture as an evil means which does not contribut to any end at all.
"Maybe the end justifies the means, but we live in a world of means" Y.K. LeGuin.
Douglas Jehl who was criticized in my one blogging hit contributed to the story.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "9/10/2006 01:13:00 AM":
One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports. These "hijackers" somehow managed to board all four airliners with their tickets, yet not even ONE got his name on any of the flight manifests. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name, more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.