CIA Interrogator Admits Publicly that Torture was Used on Suspects

In an extraordinary interview, former CIA officer John Kiriakou has come forward to publicly admit that he led the raid, which captured the al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, and witnesses the waterboarding of the suspect. He further admits that waterboarding is torture — a fact already established by U.S. courts.

It appears like much else in our modern down-sized government, torture is contracted out. Kiriakou said that former special forces were brought in to do the torturing and that he refused to do it.

The disclosure further undermined Gen. Michael Hayden’s rather transparent claim that the tapes were destroyed to protect the identity of CIA officers. Moreover, another former CIA officer has said that the tapes were destroyed because the CIA feared that “another body” would claim them and that Congress would not support the use of torture.

The then-head of the clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the tapes destroyed shortly after a Washington Post expose focused attention on the CIA’s secret prisons, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports. “Well, I think there might have been concern that those tapes could have been called for by some outside body and the CIA would no longer maintain control over them,” said retired CIA officer John Brennan, who is now a CBS News consultant. 

Brennan says Rodriguez was also worried the Justice Department was backing away from its earlier support of harsh interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding. 

For the Rodriguez story, click here

The Administration’s initial justifications are now collapsing, but Congress has been resisting a call from Sen. Joe Biden for an independent investigation.  

For the full article, click here

6 thoughts on “CIA Interrogator Admits Publicly that Torture was Used on Suspects”

  1. JT, it is astonishing, indeed, and precisely how the Bush adminstration would like to continue to proceed, as well.

    I liken it, somewhat, to driving on a shared highway, with traffic moving in both directions. It’s as if the double-yellow lines are a
    mere “suggestion” of where to be in the road,
    – and everybody knows it.

  2. Sheridan:

    That is a very interesting question. While Kiriakou does not support the administration on torture’s definition, he does say that it saved lives. His statements will cause a problem. If this is truly a classified subject, he could be prosecuted. However, one cannot classify a crime. Of course, the dems are likely to rely on the classified status argument to defend years of silence — putting more pressure on Kiriakou.

  3. I don’t get it. Before Valeria Plame’s book was published it was scrutinized thoroughly by the CIA. Yet Kiriakou, an ex-CIA agent, gets to be interviewed on TV and say anything he wants. Something just doesn’t ring true for me.

  4. It is astonishing how this debate seems to have turned on whether torture can produce results. If this were the standard, we could torture gang members for their plans. The point used to be a moral one: torture is a criminal act that is justified only by an exercise of moral relativity.

  5. Kiriakou further asserted that the torture victim, Abu Zubaydah, gave up a lot of al Qaeda info after the waterboarding. He went on to say the information Zubaydah gave them prevented or disrupted several potential plots and attacks. He, and certainly the right wing nutcases, seemed to view this as something of a justification.

    Well, of course the guy’s going to talk when you’re drowning him! Repression, fear, violence and press restrictions are all pretty effective when trying to control populations, too. But these are not supposed to characterize American values. There’s no question that people will talk when being tortured, the question is the humanity and legallity of torture. As Americans, we (and I dare say the rest of the world) used to believe we were above that level of Third World dictatorship actions.

    I’m reminded if the adage that “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking”

    This administration, from George W Bush on down, has consistantly demonstrated they have no integrity whatever by doing the worst of things while no one can see them, first lying about it and then blatently admitting to destroying the damaging evidence in plain sight as if to say “Screw you, America. We’re NEOCONs and we’ll do whatever we please and there’s nothing you’re going to do about it.” Are they right?

    This is such a disturbing story. It’s so much worse knowing that four top Democrats, Pelosi, Harman, Rockefeller and Reid were all aware of this and said nothing. Not only did they say nothing, they led the rest of us to believe they were serious about opposing the occupation of Iraq, torture, warrentless wiretaps and the loss of several other civil liberties. This is very unsettling. It seems we’ve been betrayed by both sides of the aisle.

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