Former FBI Interrogator Dispels Claim of Usefulness of Torture
Ali Soufan, former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interrogator, instrumental in gathering information from one of the so called high profile prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Zubaydah, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on May 13, 2009 that he accomplished his task using what he considered standard techniques to acquire the information.
His testimony revealed the prisoner refused to cooperate after being subjected to torture, also referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques", a phrase adopted by the Bush administration.
An excerpt from an article from MSNBC :Soufan said the harsh techniques were "ineffective, slow and unreliable and, as a result, harmful to our efforts to defeat al-Qaida."
Soufan testified that "many of the claims made" by the Bush administration were inaccurate or half-truths.
He cited these examples:
The administration said Abu Zubaydah was not cooperating before Aug. 1, 2002, when waterboarding was approved. "The truth is that we got actionable intelligence from him in the first hour of interrogating him" before that date. The administration credited waterboarding for Zubaydah's information that led to the capture of Padilla, who received a 17-year, four-month sentence, although prosecutors did not present any dirty-bomb information. Padilla was arrested in May 2002, months before waterboarding was authorized, Soufan said. Bush officials contended that waterboarding revealed the involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks of al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Soufan said the information was discovered in April 2002, months before waterboarding was introduced.
Mr. Soufan testified before the committee from behind a partition to conceal his identity. The hearing sought to shed light on the process used by the Office of Legal Council (OLC), involved in crafting the justification for the use of the techniques used on prisoners during the Bush administration.
This was the first of several investigations expected to be seeking answers to the evolution of the process and its implementation.
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