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NYT: Interrogations Effectiveness Elusive

Some outrageously blatant propaganda ‘news analysis’ from the terrorists’ mouthpiece, the New York Times:

Interrogations’ Effectiveness May Prove Elusive


April 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — Even the most exacting truth commission may have a hard time determining for certain whether brutal interrogations conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency helped keep the country safe.

Last week’s release of long-secret Justice Department interrogation memorandums has given rise to starkly opposing narratives about what, if anything, was gained by the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, wall-slamming and other physical pressure to shock and intimidate Qaeda operatives.

Senior Bush administration officials, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and cheered by many Congressional Republicans, are fighting a rear-guard action in defense of their record. Only by using the harshest methods, they insist, did the intelligence agency get the information it needed to round up Qaeda killers and save thousands of American lives.

Even President Obama’s new director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, wrote in a memorandum to his staff last week that “high value information came from interrogations in which these methods were used,” an assertion left out when the memorandum was edited for public release. By contrast, Mr. Obama and most of his top aides have argued that the use of those methods betrayed American values — and anyway, produced unreliable information. Those are a convenient pair of opinions, of course: the moral balancing would be far trickier if the C.I.A. methods were demonstrated to have been crucial in disrupting major plots.

For both sides, the political stakes are high, as proposals for a national commission to unravel the interrogation story appear to be gaining momentum. Mr. Obama and his allies need to discredit the techniques he has banned. Otherwise, in the event of a future terrorist attack, critics may blame his decision to rein in C.I.A. interrogators.

But if a strong case emerges that the Bush administration authorized torture and got nothing but prisoners’ desperate fabrications in return, that will tarnish what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have claimed as their greatest achievement: preventing new attacks after Sept. 11, 2001.

Within the agency, the necessity, effectiveness and legality of the interrogation methods have been repeatedly subject to review. The agency’s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, studied the program in 2004 and raised serious questions. According to former intelligence officials, that led to separate reviews by an internal panel headed by Henry A. Crumpton, a veteran counterterrorism officer, and by two outsiders, Gardner Peckham, who had served as national security adviser to Newt Gingrich, and John J. Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary.

Their conclusions remain classified, but that could change now that the intelligence agency’s techniques have been made public. In a twist this week, Mr. Cheney, a fierce defender of secrecy as vice president, called for the release of more classified memorandums that he asserted prove the effectiveness of the coercive techniques.

The second-guessing of the C.I.A.’s methods inside the government began long before Mr. Obama’s election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government agency with the greatest knowledge of Al Qaeda in 2001, chose not to participate in the C.I.A. interrogation program after agents became uneasy about the earliest use of harsh methods in 2002 on Abu Zubaydah, a long-sought terrorist facilitator.

In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, the F.B.I. director since 2001, Robert S. Mueller III, was asked whether any attacks had been disrupted because of intelligence obtained through the coercive methods. “I don’t believe that has been the case,” Mr. Mueller said. (A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, John Miller, said on Tuesday, “The quote is accurate.”)

That assessment stands in sharp contrast to many assertions by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who on Fox News on Sunday said of the methods: “They did work. They kept us safe for seven years.”

Four successive C.I.A. directors have made similar claims, and the most recent, Michael V. Hayden, said in January that he believed the methods “got the maximum amount of information” from prisoners, citing specifically Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief 9/11 plotter.

Many intelligence officials, including some opposed to the brutal methods, confirm that the program produced information of great value, including tips on early-stage schemes to attack tall buildings on the West Coast and buildings in New York’s financial district and Washington. Interrogation of one Qaeda operative led to tips on finding others, until the leadership of the organization was decimated. Removing from the scene such dedicated and skilled plotters as Mr. Mohammed, or the Indonesian terrorist known as Hambali, almost certainly prevented future attacks.

But which information came from which methods, and whether the same result might have been achieved without the political, legal and moral cost of the torture controversy, is hotly disputed, even inside the intelligence agency.

The Justice Department memorandums released last week illustrate how difficult it can be to assess claims of effectiveness. One 2005 memorandum, for example, asserts that “enhanced techniques” used on Abu Zubaydah and Mr. Mohammed “yielded critical information.”

But the memorandum then lists among Abu Zubaydah’s revelations the identification of Mr. Mohammed and of an alleged radiological bomb plot by Jose Padilla, the American Qaeda associate. Both those disclosures were made long before Abu Zubaydah was subjected to harsh treatment, according to multiple accounts.

On Mr. Mohammed, the record is murkier. The memorandum says that “before the C.I.A. used enhanced techniques,” Mr. Mohammed “resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, ‘Simply noting, ‘Soon, you will know.’ ”

But the same memorandum reveals in a footnote that Mr. Mohammed, captured on March 1, 2003, was waterboarded 183 times that month. That striking number, which would average out to six waterboardings a day, suggests that interrogators did not try a traditional, rapport-building approach for long before escalating to their most extreme tool.

Mr. Obama paid his first visit to the agency this week, and his reference to the interrogation issue made for an awkward moment in which he sounded like a teacher gently correcting his pupils.

“Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we’ve made some mistakes,” he said. “That’s how we learn.”

In case anyone had any doubts as to how much the Solons at the New York Times hate this country and wish it harm.

No lie is too great for them to foist upon their readers. The truth has nothing to do with anything they print.

They are so far in the grips of their obsession that they even repeat the obviously laughable claim that their idol Mr. Mohammed was waterboarded six times a day seven days a week for the entire month of March.

(For the record, even Mr. Mohammed says he was waterboarded only five times. But of course he doesn’t hate the US with the same burning passion that the New York Times does.)

Still, isn’t it obvious that these interrogations have accomplished nothing. Look at all of the successful terrorist attacks we have had upon our country.

Who are we to believe? The New York Times or our lying eyes?

(By the way, the photograph is of the still-standing Los Angeles skyscraper, the US Bank Tower.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “NYT: Interrogations Effectiveness Elusive”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    The only thing elusive here is the NYT telling the truth!!

    Hello? CIA Headquarters? Do you waterboard on request?

  2. proreason says:

    News comedy for only 50 cents a day.

  3. Enthalpy says:

    “Interrogations Effectiveness Elusive” claims the NYT. If the success of the interrogation methods meant anything to the NYT, I’d be surprised.” Mr. Obama and most of his top aides have argued that the use of those methods betrayed American values — and anyway, produced unreliable information,” according to the NYT report. When did Mr. Obama begin to care about American values?

  4. David says:

    I have a copy and read through the memo that mentions the second wave. How on earth could they have read that memo to know about the “you’ll soon find out” comment but miss the specific LA plot that was foiled. And not even generalities, KSM identified the specific people and where to find them. The only thing elusive is the NYT’s integrity. Also the 183 number is a flat out lie. Instead the memo says:

    A cloth is placed over his face on which cold water is then poured for periods of at most 40 seconds. This creates a barrier through which it is either difficult or impossible to breathe. The technique thereby “induce[s] a.sensation o f drowning.” Id. at 13. The waterboard may be authorized for, at most, one 30-day period, during which the technique can actually be applied on no more than five of [redacted section somewhat readable as the source for this info] Further, there can be no more than two sessions in any 24-hour period. Each session – the time during which the detainee is strapped to the waterboard- lasts no more than two hours. There may be at most six applications of water lasting 10 seconds or longer during any session: and the water may be applied for a total of no more than 12 minutes during any 24 hour period.

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    “.. enemies of the United States .. foreign and DOMESTIC ..”

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