The fruits of torture

From today's Post:

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu
Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they
were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who
knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing
increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of
al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a
result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former
senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations.
Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly
evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida —
chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before
waterboarding was introduced, they said.

Get that?  Before torture, useful intelligence; after torture, bad intelligence that sent the CIA on multiple wild goose chases.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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