Did Cheney Order Up Abu Zubaydah’s 83rd Waterboarding?

McClatchy reports that one of the reasons Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got waterboarded 183 times and Abu Zubaydah got waterboarded 83 times is that Cheney and Rumsfeld refused to believe they had no information on ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq. (h/t Hmmm)

The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.


A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

"There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

"The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."

This suggests that when Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded an additional time–perhaps his 83rd–against the judgment of the interrogators working with him directly, the "elements with CIA Headquarters" that ordered up the additional torture were being pushed by Cheney and Rummy (a suggestion JimWhite made here).

This is not to say that the interrogation program has worked perfectly. According to the IG Report, the CIA, at least initially, could not always distinguish detainees who had information but were successfully resisting interrogation from those who did not actually have the information. See IG report at 83-85. On at least one occasion, this may have resulted in what might be deemed in retrospect to have been the unnecessary use of enhanced techniques. On that occasion, although the on-scene interrogation team judged Zubaydah to be compliant, elements with CIA Headquarters still believed he was withholding information. [Redaction of more than one full line] See id, at 84. At the direction of CIA Headquarters interrogators, therefore used the waterboard one more time on Zubaydah. [Redacted] See id, at 84-85. [my emphasis]

I’ll have more to say on the intelligence they got from Abu Zubaydah in a later post. But if Cheney can be tied–presumably through Tenet–to waterboarding sessions that even the torturers considered excessive, it sure explains why Tenet got the White House to endorse its torture program in a statement as one of the last things he did as DCI. And it explains why Cheney has been so quick to enter the fray with his torture apologies.

We’re mighty close to tying Cheney–through just one degree of separation–to "frivolous" torture. And I suspect he’s aware of that.

93 replies
  1. klynn says:


    But on a different level.

    I still think Comey & Goldsmith could answer to and fill “that” one degree of separation gap.

    • acquarius74 says:

      klynn (and others),

      although the on-scene interrogation team judged Zubaydah to be compliant, elements with CIA Headquarters still believed he was withholding information. [Redaction of more than one full line] See id, at 84. At the direction of CIA Headquarters interrogators, therefore used the waterboard one more time on Zubaydah. [Redacted]

      In that directive from Rummy where he scribbled at the top about his standing for 8 hours so why limit the detainees to 4 hours, didn’t that same memo direct that each time certain ‘techniques’ were to be used the field had to get specific o.k. from Rummy?

      If that’s the case the redacted line would be Rummy, The next line after the redaction uses the word “therefore”, in such a way that states that the CIA’s action directly resulted from the redacted line.

      Key here is exactly what does that order say about field must get specific approval from DDOD (?) each time certain techniques were to be applied.
      I’ll search, but would appreciate anyone’s help. Thanks.

        • skdadl says:

          That’s true, but I keep running into details that make me wonder about crossovers between the two — via the OLC, eg.

          Not that I’ve sorted any of that out m’self.

        • acquarius74 says:

          Thanks, Nell. You are right. I just found the 11/27/2002 memo signed by Rummy on 12/02/2002 re the technique categories to be used by USSOUTHCOM. I new realize that CIA’s approval would have come from Tenet whose higher commander is ….president? We know Chaney ruled, but was it with legal chain of command over CIA?

          For anyone interested here is the Rummy Action Memo to which I refer.

          Thanks again, Nell.

  2. phred says:

    Glad to see your link to Jim’s post the other day. I noticed that Isikoff raised the same point on Maddow’s show after that post appeared. I have no idea whether any of these reporters read Jim’s post or whether the numbers and the dates lit a lot of lightbulbs at the same time, but in any case this should put to rest the fictional ticking time bomb excuse.

    This was all about ginning up an unnecessary war.

    That is going to be a harder sell even for Rush.

  3. JimWhite says:

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

    This “former senior U.S. intelligence official” needs to be under oath, soon. I hope this person has written evidence of the orders from Cheney and Rumsfeld. Note that the KSM waterboarding month, March, 2003 is also the beginning of the loss of White House emails. From the timeline:

    March 2003: Starting date of period during which White House has incomplete archives for emails; from March to October, email archives and backup tapes are incomplete.

    • phred says:

      Excellent point. And quite possibly the key piece of data we lacked to understand why they needed to start disappearing emails during that month in particular. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to find that they lacked sufficient evidence to go to war with Iraq so they tried torturing such a connection out of a detainee. It might call into question the validity of the whole premise for the war.

      • Nell says:

        Cambone should be in the dock with the rest of them. He was the person to whom “intelligence” was funnelled at DoD. In particular he was the person to whom the shadowy, constantly re-named/numbered ‘Task Force’ that operated its own torture centers around Iraq reported.

        • valletta says:

          RE: Cambone
          “President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, “Are you in charge of finding WMD?” Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn’t his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. “Who?” Bush asked.
          – Massimo Calibresi and Timothy Burger, “Who Lost the WMDs?”, TIME, June 30, 2003

          Now, normal people might see a conflict of interest here but obviously no one in the Bush crime regime….

  4. klynn says:

    Just to put the 183 into perspective:

    Ogrisseg said Navy SEALS subjected to brief waterboarding in training repeatedly stated they would divulge information to captors if faced with the waterboard again. Navy procedures allowed for trainees to be waterboarded for no more than 20 seconds with no more than two pints of water. Baumgartner said what the committee referred to as “SERE techiniques” are used often and have worked against American troops. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated that it would have been more logical for the Department of Defense to seek interrogation advice from the FBI instead of using a program not meant to teach interrogation. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) questioned the effectiveness of aggressive interrogation, pointing out the likelihood that captured terrorists have undergone training similar to that of United States Armed Forces.

    (my emphasis)

  5. behindthefall says:

    This also makes it even more unlikely that the videos were meant solely for recordkeeping purposes.

        • mesquite says:

          Your snark is appropriate, but just to emphasize a most vital point, I believe in comment 7 Jim is suggesting a review of the missing torture tapes would result in repeatedly hearing various versions of “what is your (al-Quaeda’s) connection to Saddam Hussein?” Tapes showing the real intent of torture- to create a false impression as a case for war- would be devastating politically.

          • behindthefall says:

            Yes, in retrospect I see that I missed the point that that’s what JW was implying in 7. However, I assure you that my comment was not meant as snark. To put it plainly, I have been wondering to what extent the directives to move into flat-out torture were motivated by sadism.

            • JimWhite says:

              I think both interpretations have merit. I was saying I think that the tapes would show the Iraq-AQ link as the primary thing asked over and over during torture. But I agree that your point makes sense, too. The SASC report mentions that GITMO was called “America’s Battle Lab”. At such a place, one would do things like determine breaking points.

              • GregB says:

                Perhaps the tapes would have shown Darth Cheney asking over and over and over:

                “Is it safe?”


  6. drational says:

    Turns out in August 2002, they were just doing product research and development:

    Why did the Administration wait until September to make its case against Iraq? White House chief of staff Andrew Card told The New York Times last week, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

  7. klynn says:

    Looking at your torture tape timeline, EW, do we have any idea why Comey stayed on almost a year after Goldsmith resigned?

    Summer 2004 was quite the time!

    June 15, 2004: Goldsmith informs Ashcroft he will withdraw Bybee Memo and resigns. This effectively leaves the CIA with no legal protection for the water-boarding it had already done.

    June 17, 2004: Jack Goldsmith announces his resignation.

    June 22, 2004: In an off-the-record briefing, Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin renounce Bybee Memo.

    June 24, 2004: Ted Olson announces his resignation, citing frustration that he did not learn of memos justifying legal decisions.

    June 28, 2004: Hamdi decision.

    June 29, 2004: John McLaughlin confirms that CIA “has taken and completed all reasonable steps necessary to find the documents in its possession, custody, or control responsive” to the 9/11 Commission’s formal requests and “has produced or made available for review” all such documents.

    July 2004: Scott Muller resigns as General Counsel of CIA.

    July 11, 2004: Tenet’s resignation effective.

    mid-July 2004: CIA gets its more detailed authorization for water-boarding.

    • drational says:

      He has said it was because the Pres told him that the administration was going to change and do what was right with wiretapping program. Zelikow on Maddow was asked the same thing last night, why he stayed, and he responded because he was working with others inside the Government to change things and he believed that by 2005-2006 they had done so wrt to torture.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I do love the way that you think. Here’s a short bit from
      EW’s Ghorbanifar Meetings Timeline
      , which IMVHO absolutely underscores the McClatchy report that BushCheney were trying to tie AQ-Iraq together. Lookee here:

      May 7, 2003: Rhode apparently stages “find” of anti-Israel materials in Iraq (and uranium document) with Ahmed Chalabi; Judy Miller reports it

      Late May, 2003: Ledeen sends new letter outlining Ghorbanifar plan to Feith, including promise of finding “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that had been moved to Iran”

      May 21, 2003: US cancels Geneva meeting with Iran, accusing Iran of harboring Al Qaeda leaders

      May 25, 2003: Report (quoting Rummy elsewhere) that US considering using MEK to launch attack on Iran [bold and italics mine]

      Note that late May 2003 Ledeen “PROMISE to find WMD” to Feith (!).

      Unfortunately, I’m not clear on how this May 2003 timeframe synchs with the torture, but I strongly suspect that the two timelines (183 waterboardings + Ghorbanifar Timeline in which people were planting WMD evidence in Iraq) line up… If someone has other data, please correct my hunch here.

      EW, I don’t know how you’ve done it!
      But all the work you’ve been doing the past few years really seems to be paying off in new ways at present. Amazing.

      • klynn says:

        Back at you on the “how you think”!

        Yes, both timelines link well with the focus on the fact that torture was meant to produce “false” intell.

        JimWhite @ 36, thanks for the link! Did you see my quote I posted @4. It is further confirmation of that point. It only produces false information.

        All. For. Oil.

  8. Leen says:

    During Cheney’s Faux Spin interview I was really aware of Cheney doing some heavier than normal breathing. Odd.

    Wondering why he waited to push for declassification of those memos that allegedly would prove that the “enhanced torture” techniques worked? Hell he was classifying and declassifying at the drop of a hat when he was in office. Why wait if you want to prove to the American public that your torture techniques worked?

    I had watched this interview on Faux news Monday night and also wondered about his references to not knowing much about Al Queda. “very little” What a sack of shit liar Cheney is. When will he be dressed in that orange suit that he has earned?

    Wonder how many times those who were just “following orders” called up line and asked whether they could stop with the torture all ready?

    I was really bothered by the way Rachel Maddow reported about the Aipac/Rosen espionage trial last night. While I appreciate that she finally touched this issue the way it was reported made alleged spying on the U.S. a big joke. She never mentioned Rosen and Weissman’s names although did mention Franklin. She reported that the trial has been delayed 9 times and failed to mention that her report is one of the first in the MSM to give any details maybe the first damn report. (several years ago Chris Matthews mentioned that the trial had been delayed once again). She also mentioned that the trial will more than likely be dismissed. So we get the first report on this trial spun as a joke just before the trial may be dismissed. HMMMM
    Rachel on Jane Harman/Aipac (never says Rosen)

    Guess I should be happy with better late than never on this one

    • phred says:

      During Cheney’s Faux Spin interview I was really aware of Cheney doing some heavier than normal breathing. Odd

      Nah, Darth just took his helmet off ; )

  9. freepatriot says:

    so can I get a ruling on this new pointy headed cheetoo eater

    do I get to put him in my troll box now

    I seen his handiwork

    looks like a “friend” troll

    I never got to abuse one of them


  10. Leen says:

    This Hardball interview is worth listening to.(monday) Chris Matthews brings up Steve Cambone travelling from Gitmo to Abu Gharib. Matthews challenges Smerconish asking him “how can you exonerate the big shots when they wrote the rule books for this kind of behavior” “they wrote the rule books”
    Abu Gharib

  11. Phoenix Woman says:

    Cheney’s the guy who — quite literally — got his ideas on how the Gulf War should be conducted from watching Ken Burns’ The Civil War.

    No, I’m not joking:

    In his book It Doesn’t Take a Hero, retired U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf describes the evolution of the plans he and his staff made following Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As his mission to defend Saudi Arabia quickly grew into an offensive plan to drive Iraqi troops out of everyone’s favorite oppressive rococo emirate, Schwarzkopf developed a four-step course of action intended to grind his enemy down into miserable fighting condition before finishing him off with an overwhelming and elaborately staged ground attack. Problem is, all of that grinding and staging took time — and quite a few of the people Schwarzkopf worked for wanted to see the lion eat the fucking gladiator already. Following one White House meeting at which he’d asked for more time and more troops, Stormin’ Norman reports, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell called to warn the Desert Storm commander that he was being loudly compared, by a top administration official, to George McClellan. “My God,” the official supposedly complained. “He’s got all the force he needs. Why won’t he just attack?” Schwarzkopf notes that the unnamed official who’d made the comment “was a civilian who knew next to nothing about military affairs, but he’d been watching the Civil War documentary on public television and was now an expert.”

    And then, twenty pages later, Schwarzkopf casually drops the information that he got an inspirational gift from Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney right before the air war finally got under way. Cheney was presenting a gift to a military man, and he chose something with an appropriate theme: “(A) complete set of videotapes of Ken Burns’s PBS series, The Civil War.”

    But that wasn’t the only gift that Dick Cheney had for Norman Schwarzkopf. Having figured out that the general was being too cautious with his fourth combat command in three decades of soldiering, Cheney got his staff busy and began presenting Schwarzkopf with his own ideas about how to fight the Iraqis: What if we parachute the 82nd Airborne into the far western part of Iraq, hundreds of miles from Kuwait and totally cut off from any kind of support, and seize a couple of missile sites, then line up along the highway and drive for Baghdad? Schwarzkopf charitably describes the plan as being “as bad as it could possibly be… But despite our criticism, the western excursion wouldn’t die: three times in that week alone Powell called with new variations from Cheney’s staff. The most bizarre involved capturing a town in western Iraq and offering it to Saddam in exchange for Kuwait.” (Throw in a Pete Rose rookie card?) None of this Walter Mitty posturing especially surprised Schwarzkopf, who points out that he’d already known Cheney as “one of the fiercest cold warriors in Congress.”

    And yes, this is Five Deferments Dick we’re talking about.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      PW, there is another narrative that I suspect is more on target. It is found in Robert Coram’s biography entitled Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War, pages 422-425. The late USAF Col. John Boyd was, among many other accomplishments, the leader of the military reform movement that came to life in the late 1970s and achieved some traction in Congress in the early 1980s, fighting vainly to steer the Reagan administration steamroller away from doubling down on Pentagon business as usual. Among his enthusiastic supporters on the hill were Congressman Richard Cheney and Senator Gary Hart. At the time Boyd was just beginning to be recognized for his strategy insights, which in the years since have come to be viewed as in the same league as those of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz.

      According to Coram, Cheney and others in the Pentagon were troubled by Schwartzkoph’s initial plan which was, as Cheney later put it to Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, the authors of The Generals’ War “a high diddle diddle up the middle.” It is known that Boyd was quietly commuting to Washington at that time from his retirement home in Florida, and was allegedly being smuggled into the E-ring during off hours, and via back doors and freight elevators. During this period Boyd refused to discuss the matter with even his closest proteges and, in the process, unprecedentedly going so far as telling some of them to forget they had even had the conversation in which the subject was brought up. Even then, more than fifteen years after his “retirement”, Boyd was viewed as so radioactive by the uniformed brass (especially those of his own service, the Air Force), that it was feared that if his involvement became known it might generate insurmountable resistance to his inputs being accepted. Thus, in view of the likelihood that Schwartzkoph was dragged kicking and screaming into the famous “Left Hook” of Desert Storm, his apologia should be taken with a grain of salt.

      In his life-long study of conflict, two of the core principles that Boyd derived are first that people are the key to successful outcomes, not equipment or tactics, and second that the moral element is key to people doing the right things. Accordingly, he reaffirmed Sun Tzu’s idea that the most successful strategist is the one who manages to achieve his goals without needing to actually fight. It has been a profound tragedy for the country that Cheney, for all his exposure to John Boyd’s ideas and ways of thinking, failed to absorb his most important insights.

      PS: It’s unfortunate that I’m so untimely with this response, however I was within minutes of posting it this morning when my Comcast internet connection went dead for about four hours. Just getting caught up now.

  12. SmileySam says:

    On getting Cheney,

    I’m convinced that Cheney either took a trip to personally witness the torture and we do know that at least 3 from the admin. went to GITMO just for that reason, or that he viewed the video tapes. I’m sure the Dick was too smart to keep the videos…or was he a souvenir keeper ? Voyeurism of the kind it would take to watch and order maybe even more should shock enough people…

    It bears looking into whether Dick visited GITMO and when. Conspiracy charges or RICO could even be drawn from such action right ?

    • drational says:

      Zubaydah did not get to Guantanamo until September 2004. Cheney would have had to go to Black sites. It is more likely he was in his basement with a special video feed watching while pinned down by latex-clad David A. and “Scooter”.

  13. fatster says:

    Some early morning (Left Coast here) items::

    Freddie Mac CFO Kellermann suicided.



    Yoo receives boos and cries of “war criminal” at Chapman University presentation



    Obama’s national intelligence director, Adm. Dennis Blair, wrote in a private memo last week that “significant” info did emerge from all that torture



    Now to go read what all of you have discovered overnight.

  14. dugsdale says:

    Department of Idle Speculation here, but I’ve been wondering for a while how much of Cheney’s excursion to the dark side was motivated by the fact that he and his cronies f*cked up BIG time, in leaving the US defenseless after a series of pretty clear and cogent warnings (Shrub: “OK, you’ve covered your ass with the briefing, now beat it” etc.).

    Not that it matters, I suppose, but there’s a quantum difference between taking extreme measures with the nation’s interests at heart, and taking extreme measures to expiate one’s own colossal guilt. (this assumes the capacity to feel guilt on the part of any of these monsters, and so far I’ve seen no evidence of it.)

    • phred says:

      I think the possibility of that is zero. Cheney is not the sort to show remorse or apologize for anything he has ever done. He believes himself to be right, all of the time. He’s a guy that exploits opportunities that arise to achieve his ends. He wanted a war with Iraq before he ever got into office. He used 9-11 to manipulate public sentiment. He put moles in every key agency to find/create intelligence he could use to sell the public on a war he desperately wanted. If it took torturing prisoners to get false confessions to get there, that was fine by him. I don’t think he has ever considered the possibility that 9-11 occurred because they fucked up.

    • tjbs says:

      If that’s true he wouldn’t have been in direct control of NORAD, the first and only time a VP had total control of NORAD. That dog don’t hunt.

  15. dugsdale says:

    (Not, I hasten to add, that taking extreme measures with the nation’s interest at heart constitutes a defense of any sort wrt torture; just that it’s one of those glimmers of “emperors’ clothes” that some unthinking people are clinging to.)

    • JimWhite says:

      Charles Burney is turning into my hero. His quote in that McClatchy piece confirms the torture was meant to find an Iraq-al Qaeda link. Elsewhere in the SASC report, he emphasizes that the SERE trainers knew that torture produces false information. Putting that together shows that Cheney was after a false Iraq-al Qaeda link.


  16. Nell says:

    Torture isn’t the only way to produce false “intelligence” and “evidence”.

    By May 2003 the cat was out of the bag — it was becoming clear that there were no “weapons of mass destruction” to the significant slice of the U.S. public that had bought in, and they were desperate for “proof” that other rationales justified the invasion and occupation.

    It was also becoming clear that the resistance was going to be long and sustained. Dissolution of the Iraqi army, which happened in late May, just about guaranteed it — so on some level they settled on the rationale “terrorist elements are killing U.S. soldiers, so we have to stay until we can get that cleaned up”.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Wow, what a synthesis!

      BTW: You’d pointed out that Jello Jay couldn’t have been Chair of SSCI in Jan 2006, b/c the Dems didn’t win back control of the Senate until Nov. Excellent point; however, the Timeline does read “Jello Jay” and I assume that a correction will need to wait until a calmer week.

      Didn’t want you to think that I ignored your comment some threads back ;-))

    • puravida says:

      Nicely stated. Of course, this all ties in with why Firedoglake exists in the first place: Joe and Valerie.

      The pieces are starting to fit neatly into the jigsaw puzzle.

  17. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Also from the McClatchy article, I love this synopsis from Sen Carl Levin:

    “I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

    Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    Levin’s comment, ‘they made links where they didn’t exist’ synchs with the May 2003 item from EW’s Ghorbanifar Meetings Timeline, in which Michael Ledeen PROMISES to “find WMD that had been moved to Iran”. And hey, if none existed, it appears he was ready to invent some and plant it.

    Given Ledeen’s near-certain role in the Niger Forgeries that led to the Iraq War, it stands to reason that he had no qualms about inventing additional bogus evidence of WMD (and it was going to be ‘moved’ to Iran) — a neocon pretext for war with Iran, no doubt.

    FWIW, Levin does the Senate proud.
    Great reporting by McClatchy.

    And EW, it’s wonderful to see your hard work paying off at a whole new level.

    • Leen says:

      Not one person has been held accountable for that false pre-war intelligence. Not one.
      Hundreds of thousands dead, injured, displaced.

      Still think the Republicans need lies about blowjobs to get their justice juices flowing. Disgusting and criminal

      • TheraP says:

        I so recall the “turning on a dime” switch of Powell – his readiness, suddenly, out of the blue, to make that UN presentation.

        And I’ve long wondered if they blackmailed him somehow.

        Given the info that has come to light re Harmon, could it be that Powell too was spied on? And that they had something over him?

        I think all of these crimes fit together. It’s one big crime-scene!

  18. Prairie Sunshine says:

    ooops, epu-ed over at Spencer’s thread…

    uh-oh, Andrea Mitchell doesn’t like Ron Suskind telling her that prosecuting someone like Gonzalez may be the means necessary to get at the real deciders, the higher-ups, namely Bush and her BFF Lynn’s hubby, Chee-knee.

    Wonder what’s gonna be in that chili Friday this week, eh, Andrea?

    • dosido says:

      Andrea should retire.

      I disagree that Abu will flip. He’s total cult material. A true believer to the end.

  19. dosido says:

    posted elsewhere, but will repeat here:

    So the ticking time bomb scenario is really about time running out to produce evidence for Dick’s opportunity to bomb Iraq? That’s the time pressure that justified this in Darth Cheney’s mind.

    • puravida says:

      Bigtime wouldn’t go down without taking junior with him. Cheney won’t take a bullet for anyone. You get him, you get ‘em all.

      • dosido says:

        Ah, good point. I was going to reply that if we could only get one, I want it to be Cheney, frankly. I’m no dubya fan at all.

      • tjbs says:

        Jr and daddy will hang his ass out to dry. That’s why he MAY have a copy of the TORTURE tapes as a CYA move.
        This is scorpions in a bottle time.

  20. punaise says:

    OT, wingnut welfare lives on:

    Good morning! Bill Kristol will receive $250,000 for being an asshole who is always wrong this June.

    Kristol, the dumb son of a smart conservative who went crazy, is a lazy thinker, a terrible writer, and, as we mentioned, he has always been completely wrong about everything.

    So because there is essentially an extensive and quite well-funded private welfare fund for hacks who get everything wrong, the Bradley Foundation is going to straight-up give him $250,000 for no fucking reason.

    • dosido says:


      Hi Punaise, did you read in the Chron today that we have our own Robin Hood in SF? Robbing the banks to give to the “deserving”?

      Everybody have a good day. gtg.

  21. rteolis says:

    Lots of odd behavior that strikes me:

    Others have pointed out the curious destruction of tapes of Zubaydah, KSM, as well as Jose Padilla. All evidence of Cheney’s centerpiece intelligence program.

    If Cheney ordered all of this ultra-effective torture to confirm what he was getting from other sources, why didn’t he order the torture of the highest of high value detainees – Saddam himself?

    No WMDs found? Well then torture the answer out of him [Saddam] ’cause we know those weapons are there. That would seem to follow the logic Cheney’s repeating publicly.

    It’s as though he granted Saddam some special privilege for a head of state: don’t torture, just execute.

    • manys says:

      If Cheney ordered all of this ultra-effective torture to confirm what he was getting from other sources, why didn’t he order the torture of the highest of high value detainees – Saddam himself?

      I’d say that even Cheney knew to keep Saddam special. He needed to be kept clean so that the trial and execution remained as uncontroversial as it did. He didn’t need Iraqi’s to start saying to themselves “hey wait a minute…”

    • Raven says:

      Wasn’t there a dude on 60 minutes explaining that they did it the right way with saddam and got plenty of intel?

  22. Badwater says:

    Cheney’s such a toughguy. The Vietnam war would have ended differently if Cheney had found time to serve. Republics, you must be so proud.

  23. CasualObserver says:

    The graphic up by your title should also have Obama up on the roof of the white house as well. With blinders on, “looking forward, not behind”.

  24. solai says:

    This is, yet, another example of my not understanding the mission. Here I thought that getting bad info from those tortured was a reason not to torture. Turns out, they were after bad information.

  25. leftdcin72 says:

    Don’t get to commfy Rummy, an orange fed suit could be coming your way and by the way watch what you now say on the phone about all of this. Ya never know who’s listenen

  26. rteolis says:

    Exactly. He destroyed evidence that would hurt his case, whether it was video – or people, like Saddam. Clearly a pattern.

  27. rwcole says:

    Cheney knew that most people will say anything to make waterboarding stop- so these guys were likely to say what he wanted even though it wasn’t true.

    This wasn’t an attempt to get at the truth- it was an attempt to get evidence in favor of a lie.

    • ghostof911 says:

      It was not an attempt to get at the truth, and they didn’t need evidence in favor of what they were going to do anyway. It was purely for gratification of sadism.

  28. Hmmm says:

    (h/t Hmmm)

    De nada, Marcy, but thank you kindly.

    Leen @ 12 – “Wonder how many times those who were just ‘following orders’ called up line and asked whether they could stop with the torture all ready?” — Insert obligatory “Wonder if the NSA intercepted those calls and have copies or transcripts?”.

    dosido @ 52 – “So the ticking time bomb scenario is really about time running out to produce evidence for Dick’s opportunity to bomb Iraq? That’s the time pressure that justified this in Darth Cheney’s mind.” — Wow, I think you win for insight of the day here: The ticking time PR bomb.

  29. milly says:

    Why would Cheney and Rumsfield know the WMDs were there? They sold Hussein the weapons? Remember the pictures of them grinning and shaking hands.

    But Cheney being in control of NORAD on 9/11…being so sure there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Cheney and Rummy probably sold them “off the books.”Halliburton sure did a lot of that during the war.

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