Kiriakou: CIA IG Report Confirmed They Waterboarded Before Getting Approval (?)

I believe Jon Kiriakou is still engaging in disinformation, so while I suppose I’ll read his book, I won’t accept anything in it without corroboration.

Take this weird tidbit in his appearance on Tweety (just after 2:05). The statement is false on its face. But it does report an underlying truth.

We didn’t know that he’d been waterboarded 83 times. Last year the CIA Inspector General’s Report came out from 2004, heavily redacted, but it still confirmed that, ah, Abu Zubaydah had been waterboarded before the CIA actually received written permission to do it. So my view now, in retrospect, is that he had been waterboarded 83 times, but the people in the field actually carrying out the waterboarding did not report it. So those of us at headquarters, seeing the one report that finally did come in, believed he had been waterboarded once, and he had cracked.

See, that’s not what the CIA IG Report says–certainly not the unredacted section. In fact, the CIA IG Report implies that all the waterboarding occurred in August 2002, so after the Bybee Memo was signed.

Interrogators applied the waterboard to Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times during August 2002.

So if waterboarding happened before the Bybee Two memo was signed, it was not entered into the log books (nor was it captured on the 77 torture tapes still functional by the time the IG review them) the IG based this claim on. Or, the IG Report doesn’t mention it along with the other unredacted discussions of waterboarding. Or, the IG is lying about the timing of these 83 waterboardings.

And Kiriakou’s statement makes no sense, anyway, because if those 83 waterboardings took place in August but the IG Report admitted to waterboarding before the Bybee Two memo was signed, then the single waterboarding (the one that “cracked him”) would have been the one that happened before August.

That said, we do know Zubaydah was tortured before the Bybee Memos got signed–we’re just unclear on what happened (that is, how much torture happened), when.

All this confusion may simply stem from Kiriakou’s own attempt to excuse his own disinformation about waterboarding in the first place. Or he may well be confused himself, still reeling from cognitive dissonance of discovering the truth behind the torture regime. Or perhaps he is revealing something that is not otherwise documented in unredacted documents.

In any case, between Kiriakou and Thiessen and others spinning wildly, we’ll continue to hear details that don’t match the known details of the torture program.

58 replies
  1. plunger says:

    Behold The Mighty Wurlitzer
    (the CIA’s propaganda machine)

    At this point, with their tit caught so far in the ringer, they may just be tossing out every conflicting story they can dream up – including plenty of truth amid the lies – limited hangout.

    Bottom line…a conspiracy exists – international laws were broken at the highest levels, war crimes were committed – and the cover-up is ongoing.

    If there is a talking head on the TeeVee – just assume their message is CIA-Approved.

  2. skdadl says:

    Yup. Because I read EW, I know my Bradbury memo and my CIA IG, and I spluttered at that point in Kiriakou’s interview too. My first thought was that he was covering for himself, maybe not just the earlier disinformation but also his actual role at the time? But I also wonder whether he just revealed something that we don’t yet know.

    What a sad excuse for a so-called intelligence agent.

  3. fatster says:

    Woo Hoo!

    Revealed: Ashcroft, Tenet, Rumsfeld warned 9/11 Commission about ‘line’ it ’should not cross’

    “Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.

    . . .

    “FireDogLake’s Marcy Wheeler speculates that this was an attempt by the Bush administration to ensure that its torture of certain detainees, which has since been widely documented, remained secret.”


  4. Leen says:

    ew glad you went and listened. When Kiriakou stated that they thought Zubaydah had talked after one waterboarding and that they did not have a clue as to how many times they had waterboarded Zubaydah.
    “we believed he had been waterboarded once”

    Kiriakou “I think someone would admit to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby under waterboarding”

    Matthews “what good is the information”


  5. Leen says:

    Kiriakou 3:42 “OBL told us after Sept 11 that Al Queda was planning yet another attack that would be so spectacular that it would dwarf what would they did on Sept 11. We had to take the man at his word”

  6. Mary says:

    Whatever is in his book, it would be what Brennan wants. Apparently his book sat until Obama came into office, at which point it was fast tracked out.

  7. bmaz says:

    All this confusion may simply stem from Kiriakou’s own attempt to excuse his own disinformation about waterboarding in the first place. Or he may well be confused himself, still reeling from cognitive dissonance of discovering the truth behind the torture regime. Or perhaps he is revealing something that is not otherwise documented in unredacted documents.

    Or he might just be mentally unbalanced.

      • bobschacht says:

        I’m confused about whether your “that” refers to the three sentence quote, or bmaz’ comment “Or he might just be mentally unbalanced.” Which is it?

        Bob in AZ

        • Mary says:

          If he was any kind of goat, it would be a Judas goat, but then what would that say about the intel and DOJ guys who followed him.

          Actually, I guess to follow the thread, if Cheney was the Judas goat, DOJ and OLC were the Juris goats. And with the Algerian *issues* and direct torture involvement and fascination with naked pictures of helpless men and giddiness over anal assaults, the CIA ends up holding the depraved old goats bag.

    • Leen says:

      Where did that the CIA only believed Zabudayah had only been waterboarded once come from? Have you heard that line before?

  8. Leen says:

    Still do not understand why all of the other clips over at Hardball are working but not the clip of Matthews interview with Kiriakou?

    • plunger says:

      Can’t view the CIA interview on the Hardball site and now the RAW site is offline too. Probably all just a vast right wing coincidence.

            • Leen says:

              “MATTHEWS: Bottom line, was the intelligence service, especially the CIA, pushed around by Dick Cheney to make the case for the war with Iraq?

              KIRIAKOU: Absolutely. Absolutely. I come to that conclusion in the book, too. Dick Cheney, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, pushed faulty intelligence, fraudulent intelligence, produced by Ahmed Chalabi and his —

              MATTHEWS: Chalabi, that guy, that crook? He may be the next prime minister. He`s over there still trying to take over the country.

              KIRIAKOU: He very well could. He sold the White House and the Defense Department a bill of goods and it took us to war.

              MATTHEWS: I love the way that Cheney goosed everybody over there into saying stuff that isn`t true, and then started using him as a source. Kiriakou, thank you, John. It made my day. Anyway, thank you. Cheney, again the problem”

              CHENEY AGAIN THE PROBLEM Really like the way that interview ended

                • bobschacht says:

                  But the “scape goat” was an innocent animal who was sacrificed to atone for the sins of the guilty. Cheney is hardly an innocent animal. In fact, he is more likely to be the prime mover than anyone else (except maybe Rummy).

                  Bob in AZ

                  • Leen says:

                    In Ron Susskind’s book about former Secretary of the Treasury “The Price of Loyalty” O’Neil stated that Wolfowitz was far more of a pusher along with Cheney of invading Iraq. O’Neil said in the first Bush cabinet meetings in early 2001 all Wolfowitz and Cheney focused on was how to take out Saddam or invade Iraq

              • Mary says:

                While you guys have been dealing with disappearing vids and stories, I had to listen to bits and pieces of Karl Rove interviewed by a kindly Terry(sp?) Gross.

                Funny thing, though, she did do a minimalist call job on him when he talked about all the members of Congress who thought Iraq had WMDs going into the Iraqi AUMF – she mentioned that was bc of what Bush’s intel community was telling them and he immediately said something like *poor Bushy, had to make big decisions with dumb guys in intel who get it wrong all the time*

                I can think of no better reason to give people torture powers than bc they *get it wrong all the time*

                In any event, I didn’t hear the rest, but I’m guessing she didn’t ask him if the members of Cong who got the intel info from the Bush intel agency were told that, for example, al-libi was being tortured to generate his info; or that Canadians were being shipped to Syrian torture; or details on Curveball and the German disclaimers; or …


                • Leen says:

                  I never bank on Terri Gross asking tough questions in regard to Iraq, Iran, the Israeli Palestinian conflict. She is one of the folks who not only fails to challenge unsubstantiated claims about Iran when they are repeated on her program she repeats them herself. OFTEN

                  I really hope people refuse to buy Rove’s pathological lies in the form of a book. If you must read the re-spin of spin go borrow it from a socialized library.

    • kindGSL says:

      It looks to be deliberately jammed, I think the interesting question is who is doing it? Would you like to try to call MSNBC and find out?

      NY 1-212-664-4444 after 9:30 am
      DC 1-202-885-4000

      • Leen says:

        thanks. thought it was odd that I could access all of the other clips at Hardball but not that interview

  9. Leen says:

    Kiriakou “agency people are trained to lie for a living” “they lie to everybody”

    “you have to be able to seperate lying for work, for the betterment of the country and lying just for the sake of lying”

    Matthews “how about the morality of torture”
    Kiriakou “absolutely”
    Matthews “but what is the bottom line for most agents most officers in the CIA. Do they think it’s (torture) wrong or do they think it’s expedient”
    Kiriakou “absolutely”
    Matthews “you sound like you believe it’s expedient”
    Kiriakou “well I think in 2002 it was expedient”

    Kirakou “see this is the thing. This is a very grey issue, not black or white”

    Chris Matthews was sure excited about Kiriakou bringing up Ahmed Chalabi. “Fraudulant intelliegence” And then Chris slammed Cheney once again ” Cheney the problem”

    • klynn says:

      Another version of Condi’s, “You do not know what it was like…” comment.

      Man this pitch just gets recycled every week.

      • Leen says:

        Kiriakou attempted to hang Chalabi with all of the false pre war intelligence. As if the Office of Special plans , White House Iraq Group , etc (is it the Office of Net Assessments) had nothing to do with creating, cherry picking the false intelligence. Did I miss it has someone been held accountable for the Niger Documents.

        According to Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski in “The New Pentagon Papers” and quite a few others. Their were plenty of insiders involved with putting together the false pre war intelligence

        From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.

        I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

        I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.

        While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress “

      • Leen says:

        Kiriakou “agency people are trained to lie for a living” “they lie to everybody”

        “you have to be able to seperate lying for work, for the betterment of the country and lying just for the sake of lying”

        So who is Kiriakou lying for during that interview? He landed that interview by pointing at Chalabi as if Chalabi was the only source for false pre war intelligence.

      • fatster says:

        We passed that threshold furlongs ago, dear skdadl. We’re now smack dab in the middle of this monstrous mess.

        • skdadl says:

          Oh, I know. We are too, in our puny colonial way. In fact our PM is trying to gut our constitution … stop me if you’ve heard this one …

  10. Leen says:

    Chris Matthews “Bottom line. Was the intelligence service especially the CIA pushed around by Dick Cheney to make the case for war with Iraq”

      • Leen says:

        I’m not as sophisticated as you. Proud peasant willing to display my ignorance.

        Although Ew sort of found it interesting.

  11. Leen says:

    The way that interview ended was interesting. Blaming Chalabi for all of the false pre war intelligence. Instead of spreading the responsibility for the lies all around…Judy “I was fucking right” Miller, OSP, WhIG, Feith, read that Ledeen met with the WMD lie team over in Italy in Phase I or II of the SSCI report.

    Kiriakou was more than willing to slam Cheney, Chalabi. But left out the rest of the false WMD intelligence lie team

  12. kindGSL says:

    The only real excuse he offers is “panic” at the 4:20 mark.

    The most illuminating part of the whole interview was the “arts of deception” at 4:40 and especially at 5:00. “Agency people are trained to lie for a living.” This is really, really true. They lie to themselves too, he is a classic case.

    Their favorites are people who even have different personalities. What we need to take a closer look at it that “training program”, I think it involves child sexual abuse. That is how you get people who have multiple personalities who “lie for a living.”

  13. emptywheel says:

    Oh, that “D” after your name isn’t one of the pretty Philosophy types? All this time I’ve been hanging out with a Juris?

    Golly, I wish I had known.

  14. klynn says:


    An OT comment. I think you have been a powerful voice regarding the analysis of the health care legislation. Thank you.

  15. R.H. Green says:

    “…the people in the field who actually carried out the waterboarding did not report it.”

    This seems a recurring theme we might call “making applesauce”; it consists of throwing bad apples under a bus.

  16. JasonLeopold says:

    On a side note, last July in a short video interview with BBC, Kiriakou made the same claims, maybe he even went a bit further. I haven’t read his book either. But in this interview he says waterboarding was done “at the end of May very beginning o June 2002.” He claims he learned about it through the “regular cable traffic” that was coming in. “What I was reading related to Abu Zubaydah all took place before the first of August,” Kiriakou said.

    Here’s the link to the interview.

  17. Batocchio says:

    It reeked of CYA. It also reminded me of Lindsay Graham’s contortions on torture, because Kiriakou is saying torture is wrong – but was necesary that one, err, 83+ times.

  18. Mary says:

    Got Goat?

    UK’s Foreign office says it can’t afford the luxury of working on intel only with countries that don’t torture.

    In its report, the Foreign Office said that ultimately it was for ‘ministers to balance the risk of mistreatment against the national security needs and make a judgement’ on whether a Briton was at risk of torture if they were handed over to another country for questioning.

    The study lists 22 countries of concern, including Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Burma [Myanmar].
    It said torture was ‘widely reported’ in Pakistan – although it strongly rejected suggestions the UK was pursuing a ‘policy of complicity’ with Islamabad – while it remained ‘deeply concerned’ about the situation in Saudi Arabia.

    Read more:

  19. Mary says:

    Holder is allowing himself to be turned into such a foolish looking incompetent.

    Now Spec Op assassinations guy McChrystal outmaneuvers him and says that golly, just cuz DOJ wants Bin Laden killed instead of brought to justice, DoD’s plans are to capture him alive if possible.

    The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that it remains the goal of U.S. troops to capture Osama bin Laden alive and “bring him to justice.”

    The comment by Gen. Stanley McChrystal to reporters was in contrast to remarks made a day earlier by Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Related – DOJ has put up new traffic signs around Main Justic.

  20. joanneleon says:

    I really hope you are right about Dingell, and I’ll owe him an apology because when this story came out I thought it was a bunch of BS spin intended to keep the rabble from stirring up too much negative press on the bill until the very last minute when they’d vote on it and it would be done.

    Here’s why I doubted the Dingell story: If Dingell has so much influence over Stupak, why hasn’t he been able to convince him to stop this before now? Has he tried to talk to Stupak before? What has changed?

    I suppose the obvious answers might be: 1) this is the final bill; 2) the pro-choice caucus is really standing up this time and unmovable; 3) there is now language in the Senate bill (Nelson’s) that should satisfy Stupak’s group; or 4) Dingell was saving his “talk” for now.

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