Skip to comments.'Waterboarding broke al Qaeda captive in 35 seconds,' says former CIA agent defending torture
Posted on 12/12/2007 6:37:32 AM PST by UKrepublican
'Waterboarding broke al Qaeda captive in 35 seconds,' says former CIA agent defending torture
Use of the interrogation technique known as "waterboarding" was approved by the White House and gets results, a former CIA agent admitted yesterday.
The technique - which simulates drowning - was used against Al Qaeda captives with success, John Kiriakou told a U.S. TV network.
The one-time CIA interrogator is the first to speak out about the "torture" methods that have earned President George Bush's administration worldwide condemnation.
The White House has denied torture is used on terror suspects, but Mr Kiriakou said waterboarding "broke" one stubbornly silent Al Qaeda recruiter after just 35 seconds.
Waterboarding involves wrapping plastic or fabric around a detainee's face then pouring water over the top until it is forced up the nose and down the throat to simulate drowning.
Suspects are told they will die if they do not talk.
And although the technique is supposed to be low-risk, critics say it can result in long-lasting psychological damage, injury to the lungs and even, in extreme cases, death.
Mr Kiriakou told the ABC network that he had fought an "intellectual battle" in his mind over the use of waterboarding, and had concluded that it is justified as it saves lives by preventing terror attacks. "This isn't something done willy-nilly," he added. "This was a policy made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and Justice Department."
Mr Kiriakou told how waterboarding was used on Zayn Abu Zubaida, the first high-ranking Al Qaeda member captured after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Abu Zubaida was seized in a gun battle in Pakistan in the spring of 2002. For weeks he refused to talk and remained ideologically zealous, defiant and unco-operative. Then he was flown to a secret CIA prison - believed to be in Afghanistan - and strapped to a board with his feet in the air.
Cellophane was wrapped around the Al Qaeda man's face and water was forced up his nose and into his throat to make him think he was drowning.
The suspect lasted only 35 seconds before he broke.
"It was like flipping a switch," said Mr Kiriakou.
"From that day on, he answered every question. The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.
"Like a lot of Americans, I'm involved in this internal, intellectual battle with myself weighing the idea that waterboarding may be torture versus the quality of information that we often get.
"I struggle with it.
"At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do."
Mr Kiriakou said he did not interrogate Abu Zubaida, but learned the details from colleagues.
His account came as the U.S. Congress began questioning CIA director Michael Hayden yesterday about why the agency destroyed at least two videotapes of controversial interrogations.
Many senators believe it was done to hide evidence of illegal torture that could have been used against CIA agents in a war crimes tribunal.
General Hayden, speaking to the closed-doors Congress hearing yesterday was expected to say that CIA lawyers ruled that the interrogations were legal and the tapes were destroyed in 2005 to protect the identities of CIA employees who appear on them.
The torture scandal is likely to become a major issue in next year's presidential election.
Abu Zubaida - who says he was coerced into making false confessions - was eventually moved to the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is now held in solitary confinement.
He is likely to be tried next year on terrorism charges and the CIA expects that he will spend the rest of his life in custody.
Mr Kiriakou, a 14-year veteran of the CIA who worked in both the analysis and operations divisions, left in 2004 and works as a consultant for a private Washington-based firm.
Those who protest this would rather have had the dozen or so attacks happen than this terrorist receive 35 seconds of discomfort.
Don’t give me that “we’re better than this”.
35 seconds of water up the nose to save thousands of civilians’ lives?
The razing of Dresden?
Two A-Bombs on civilian population centers to end a war?
IE, it’s all theoretical until the question comes down to whether you’re willing to sacrifice your family and friends’ lives to make a political point.
.....but Anderson Cooper calls it torture!!!!!!
I hate getting water in my nose when I’m swimming. It’s happened a couple of times.
As a result, I’m still alive and well. Yes, everybody has a fear of drowning, but it’s done in a controlled environment.
It's not torture.
Getting audited by the IRS is torture.
Let’s try this approach.
In a situation where the interogators feel that simulated drowning is warranted to get someone to talk — only in the event of saving a number of lives, for example to extract information on a terrorist attack . . . . tell the perp up front that this is a simulated drowning. That he will not die, but he will think that he is going to die.
Then proceed with the waterboarding. If the guy knows intellectually that he can survive, it won’t be a life-or-death decision. The perp can decide if he wants to talk or not.
“The people who complain about waterboarding are actually the same people who complain about the completely justified and well-deserved bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
And yet remain silent on gas chambers in concentration camps, the London Blitz and similiar atrocities.
I usually pose the question in those exact terms when discussing this with liberals. They always concede that they would use torture (which waterboarding ain’t) to save their own family. At that point, checkmate.
These fools talk about this like it some kind of clinical, theoretical college class. It is not. It is a death struggle.
If you are in a fight, bare knuckels, with someone who want to kill you...I have news for you, all the niceties go away. You kick, gouge, scratch, bite, pull, tear...whatever is necessary to survive and keep the other person from killing you. Real quickly, all the gentile mannerisms go away in an effort to stay alive.
We are in such a fight with radical islam. Our GIs in World War II and Marines were in such a fight with the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese...in many cases, particularly in the Pacific, prisoners were not taken. Those who tried to surrender (after a number who did killed our people after doing so) were executed, or burned alive in their pill boxes. Whatever measures necessary to assure victory and save American lives were taken, including beating the you-know-what out of prisoners to find out the enemiy's intentions. Sorry if that needles some folks sensibilities, but that's the truth.
In this case, as I understand it, the prisoners are left intact and physically uninjured. That is very tame and humane of us, and something I have absolutely no problem with if we are saving American lives and moving towards defeating these animals.
There is no moral equivalence, I refuse to even approach it from that perspective. Our nation's history, the lifestyle, prosperity, peace, and generosity of its citizens under our form of government...its non-imperial, non-land grabbing history...all of that, when compared to the history and life style and abject lack of freedom and tolerance of the enemy in this case is all the perspective I need.
So really and truthfully, who cares? Especially since these terrorists are not uniformed soldiers fighting in a recognized national military force and since our troops are horrendously tortured and killed whenever they are captured by Al Qaeda operatives?
Remember what happened to these two brave American soldiers?
Just like people defending Saddam’s gas chambers.
Little risk of harm or injury of any sort. No scaring. No maiming. None of that involved. Yet, it is torture?
It is torture only because the enemy sympathizers and their useful idiots call it so.
The real purpose behind this particular attack at our ability to conduct this war is to ensure we do not have any means at all to gain intel from enemy detainees.
After they win on this point, and they will, through argument fatigue and constant redefinition, they’ll begin on taking away our right to detain anyone in this war for any reason for any duration.
I don’t aim that at the UK specifically but at all enemy sympathizers, leftists, communists, multicultis, pomos, arabists, islamists, jihadi. Foreign or domestic.
Yes, you are reading this correctly.
If it means the possibility that dozens, hundreds, thousands of lives might be saved through the use of torture to obtain information, well, we'd better use it. Or else, risk losing those lives.
I can't think of another way to express my sentiments more clearly.
You may disagree. But that's my opinion.
I would hope that Pelosi’s “human” wiring would override her “Democrat” and “liberal” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” wiring.
“...Getting audited by the IRS is torture....”
If the Fair Tax ever comes to be, the IRS would never audit you again. The IRS wouldn’t exist.
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