There are a lot of opinions out there right now on this Washington Post story. It seems that extremely high value information was extracted from a few al Qaeda terrorists through so-called harsh interrogation tactics.
After enduring the CIA’s harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency’s secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called “terrorist tutorials.”
In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.
Speaking in English, Mohammed “seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group’s plans, ideology and operatives,” said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. “He’d even use a chalkboard at times.”
These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.
“KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete,” according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA’s then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.
By all means, do read it all. Here’s my immediate take on this story – literally at the first glance at the headline when I spotted it on Memeorandum: The CIA just went to war. Eric Holder’s play to punish low level CIA operatives in a trumped up series of show trials has just backfired – badly. Let me put it this way. If the CIA just leaked this to the Post (and who else would have) this is embarrassing for the administration.
That means the CIA has something in reserve that will humiliate the administration. Bet your bottom dollar on that.
The CIA is a very, very ugly enemy, as George Bush found out. I am not happy about that on several levels. But it is still somewhat amusing to see that the CIA is quite willing to go right up against the Obama administration.
Holder made a terrible mistake. Obama is very likely to be hammered a lot worse if he does not call Holder off – right now.
This was a warning shot. They have a lot more in reserve.