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
emptywheel @wizardkitten All tall rich white guys from MA look the same you know. @amyrchapman
4mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dougsinsbca @Gaius_Publius @nakedcapitalism @mattkbh I read it just fine the first time, thanks. Its a rehash of new and old Pando bullshit
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @lefarkins: Heroes of the day Kaci Hickox and Judge Charles LaVerdiere. LaVerdiere: “We would not be here today unless... http://t.co/D
29mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV B a c k s p a c e E N G H a c k A t t a c k Z I
30mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @SacconeSpeaks: Great story about what's at stake in #COSen race when it comes to #NSA reform & strong intel oversight: http://t.co/1d1M
38mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wyden lists 6 other reports where CIA officers' roles released under pseudonym--what CIA is fighting here. http://t.co/oqE1li0k3g
40mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @calvincoolidge3 @joanneleon @carwinb Which of course would be grossly improper and highly irresponsible.
55mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @calvincoolidge3 @joanneleon @carwinb It is. There are a group of people that think the docs should be dumped and open sourced.
55mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @carwinb @joanneleon FLM does not owe the "public" squat as to blithely dumping docs. They have been judicious and appropriate.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ShannonRitenour @McBlondeLand Also startlingly devoid of facts to support the accusations.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Wait, Clair Williams is "under investigation" because she cannot attend Bernie Ecclestone's crappy press conference? http://t.co/9Cw2UUFL1g
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Gaius_Publius @nakedcapitalism @mattkbh Yeah, sorry, you lost me when you stab at First Look yet take the bleatings of Pando credibly.
2hreplyretweetfavorite