Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Chance favors the prepared mind - Louis Pasteur


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But It Worked So Well For Jack Bauer

Here’s another reason why imitating a TV show doesn’t work in real life:

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 him.

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

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.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as “al-Qaeda’s chief of operations,” and other top officials called him a “trusted associate” of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.

Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a “fixer” for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11—and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.
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Some U.S. officials remain steadfast in their conclusion that Abu Zubaida possessed, and gave up, plenty of useful information about al-Qaeda.

“It’s simply wrong to suggest that Abu Zubaida wasn’t intimately involved with al-Qaeda,” said a U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much about Abu Zubaida remains classified. “He was one of the terrorist organization’s key facilitators, offered new insights into how the organization operated, provided critical information on senior al-Qaeda figures . . . and identified hundreds of al-Qaeda members. How anyone can minimize that information—some of the best we had at the time on al-Qaeda—is beyond me.”

Until the attacks on New York and Washington, Abu Zubaida was a committed jihadist who regarded the United States as an enemy principally because of its support of Israel. He helped move people in and out of military training camps in Afghanistan, including some men who were or became members of al-Qaeda, according to interviews with multiple sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He was widely known as a kind of travel agent for those seeking such training.

That role, it turned out, would play a part in deciding his fate once in U.S. hands: Because his name often turned up in intelligence traffic linked to al-Qaeda transactions, some U.S. intelligence leaders were convinced that Abu Zubaida was a major figure in the terrorist organization, according to officials engaged in the discussions at the time.

But Abu Zubaida had strained and limited relations with bin Laden and only vague knowledge before the Sept. 11 attacks that something was brewing, the officials said.

But hey, according to Dick Cheney, torturing this guy kept us safe.

This is what the previous methods used in the WOT were largely about. It was a combination of revenge and desperation to get more information in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. In doing so, interrogators were given leeway that was never required nor given in any of our previous conflicts. As a result, Abu Ghraib, the events portrayed in this movie, and the fun and games at Club Gitmo were allowed to go on. All any of it did was to undermine our claims of freedom that we were fighting for. And Dick Cheney is still an ass.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 03/29/09 at 10:17 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • Permalink

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