Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission, and Effectiveness

If you’ve been paying attention, you know I’ve been poring through the 9/11 Report to figure out how useful the interrogation reports from the waterboarded detainees were, and when they made them.

That exercise shows that the 9/11 Report found just 10 pieces of intelligence from Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation reports informative and credible; it found just 16 pieces of such intelligence in al-Nashiri’s interrogation reports. And while the Commission did find KSM’s interrogation reports to be incredibly useful, an incomplete index (I’m working on this, but it’s on the back burner for the next week) of the references to KSM show that many of his most productive interrogation sessions came long after he was waterboarded. And, as Philip Zelikow made clear in a memo relating to the torture tape destruction, there were abundant other problems with the quality of the interrogation reports coming from CIA, too.

I emailed Zelikow yesterday to see if he would answer some more questions on this. He hasn’t responded and I haven’t had time to follow-up.

But it looks like I may not have to. Zelikow promises to address some of these issues shortly.

I will have more to say on the topic of effectiveness later. 

Of particular interest, he makes this promise to address the effectiveness of torture in the context of the work the 9/11 Commission did with Ali Soufan, the FBI interrogator who called George Bush a liar yesterday.

I met and interviewed Soufan in the course of my work at the 9/11 Commission, while he was still doing important work at the FBI. From my commission work, my fellow staffers and I had direct knowledge about several of the specific assertions Soufan makes in this piece: about Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. My fellow staffers and I considered Soufan to be credible. Indeed, Soufan is fluent in Arabic, and he seemed to us to be one of the more impressive intelligence agents — from any agency — that we encountered in our work.

If the 9/11 Commission spoke with Soufan about AZ’s treatment (Zelikow does not say they did, though he does say they asked why Soufan’s KSM-expert colleague wasn’t involved in those interrogations), it might explain why only 10 pieces of intelligence from AZ show up in the 9/11 Report. 

In this post, Zelikow also confirms something I suggested this afternoon. Dick Cheney’s up to his old ways, trying to selectively declassify manufactured information to prove his point.

Some of the very claims that Soufan describes were also used, while I was in government, in CIA memos defending the program that were submitted to the White House. Therefore, the declassification of those memos, as Vice President Cheney and others have called for, would only raise questions that would have to be answered with still more disclosures. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to be trying to sort this out.

It took eight years. But I guess just about everybody is hip to–and sick of–Cheney’s ways.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

20 Responses to Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission, and Effectiveness

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz John Cusack caught Terror Tunnelling to China
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz I am just catching up, but did @erinscafe try to draw a bubble bath in Pauley Pavilion?? http://t.co/Ngh2GFdlwh
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @robertcaruso Well fireworks are excellent from a date; explosives maybe not so much.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @robertcaruso Rob, sailors don't date sailors, you need a Marine.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Frankly I am SHOCKED @emptywheel has not been agitating about the awesome Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Phoenix Mercury. #SlackinSister
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Y'all go read latest Border story from @DcBigJohn "Border Patrol Agent Charged In $60,000 Money-Laundering Scheme" http://t.co/AZUki3asSj
8hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @onekade: Dude should be facing war crimes charges and yet there he goes, blabbing his ugly face off on tv, rewriting history http://t.c…
8hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @teddysanfran: @onekade Hey Betrayus? Who trained that Iraqi army that shed its uniforms and ran away? Wasn't that YOU?
8hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Vin Scully is a national treasure. Dodger fans are so lucky to get him again next year.
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel LOL: Bush schooling Maliki the art of politics. Obama lost Iraq, you know.
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel As you watch this Frontline piece, remember Dick Cheney still had his own heart back then. With a pulse and everything.
8hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @sarahjeong: will parody your favorite new york times columnist for a burrito
8hreplyretweetfavorite