Former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan, the man who led the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, testified before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, and revealed that President Bush told half truths about the interrogation. Soufan revealed that most of the information they received did not come from torture.
Most revealing is part of his testimony has been the refutation of the Bush administration’s claim that these tactics were necessary. Soufan was able to get vital information from Zubaydah until CIA contractors started torturing him. After being waterboarded, he stopped cooperating. Remember this is not a secondhand account. This testimony comes directly from the investigator.
The May 2005 OLC Torture memo claimed, “The CIA used the waterboard extensively in the interrogations ofKSM and Zubaydah, but did so only after it became clear that standard interrogation techniques Were not working. Interrogators used enhanced techniques in the intertogation ofal-Nashiri with notable results.” This obviously is not true. In fact, Soufan was asked about this statement during his testimony, and said it wasn’t true.
Soufan said the President Bush told a half truth about the Zubaydah interrogation, when he said, “I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.” Soufan responded, “Well, the environment that he’s talking about, yes, it reflects, you know, he was injured, he required medical care. But I think the president — my own personal opinion here, based on my recollection — he was told probably half-truth.”
Sadly, there is nothing earth shattering here. Only the blindest of the blind have stuck with the Bush administration’s explanation. What this testimony does do is knock down the Republican/Cheney argument in favor of torture. It is now a question of who you are going to believe. Should the American people believe the interrogator who did the interrogation, or the former vice president?