Who Monitored The Torture?

The interrogation and torture of Abu Zubaydah was documented very carefully as it was pursued. The FBI claims it got a lot of valuable intelligence from him by legal methods in line with Western values and the rule of law. And Cheney yesterday seemed to confirm this:

We had captured these people. We had pursued interrogation in a normal way. We decided that we needed some enhanced techniques.

Why? What had Zubaydah or KSM not said that Cheney wanted them to say? That's the key point, isn't it?

If your goal is finding out stuff you do not know, you ask questions. Leading questions, off-beat questions, irrelevant questions .. then very relevant ones. You have experts. You try all sorts of psychological strategies. You do what professional interrogators have always done, what the Brits did in Camp 020 in World War II, what Americans always did with captured spies.

But if you think you already know something - such as, oh, I don't know, say that al Qaeda was working with Saddam to detonate WMDs in America - you have to force the captive to say exactly that. How do you force them? You torture them. And if you are convinced you know exactly what the victim is refusing to say and believe this information is vital and timely, you keep a very close eye on it all. In fact, you will want constant reports and updates and cables on the situation:

CIA interrogators provided top agency officials in Langley with daily "torture" updates of Abu Zubaydah, the alleged "high-level" terrorist detainee, who was held at a secret "black site" prison and waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, according to newly released court documents obtained by this reporter. The extensive back-and-forth between CIA field operatives and agency officials in Langley likely included updates provided to senior Bush administration officials.

And you might even want to watch a video or two before the CIA destroys the evidence. Did they? Who in the white House followed the torture of Zubaydah daily? And were they ever allowed to watch the waterboarding and beating?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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