Why Don’t They Claim al-Nashiri’s Waterboarding Worked?
As I noted last night, Liz “MiniCheney” Cheney very pointedly avoided claiming that al-Nashiri provided important intelligence as a result of being waterboarded. In a non-sequitur response to Norah O’Donnell’s assertion that waterboarding is torture, MiniCheney offered this as rebuttal to O’Donnell’s point (at 2:15).
There were three people who were waterboarded, and two of those people are people who gave us incredibly important and useful information, information that saved American lives after they were waterboarded, both Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah.
That’s pretty shocking, coming as it does from someone trying hard to claim waterboarding is effective. The implication is that Rahim al-Nashiri did not give such information after he was waterboarded.
But it turns out the 9/11 Commission actually used more information from al-Nashiri in its report than it did from Abu Zubaydah (though still not a lot), a total of 16 references–and the Commission may have included more information gathered immediately after waterboarding. There’s some confusion about when al-Nashiri was captured (the contemporaneous public announcement placed it in early November 2002, whereas the ICRC lists October 2002 without the specific date; the ICRC also reports that al-Nashiri was allegedly interrogated by Dubai agents for a month before being handed over to the Americans), and we have no reporting on precisely when al-Nashiri was waterboarded. Nevertheless, al-Nashiri gave information that was used in the 9/11 Report closer to his capture date than AZ and as close as a few of the KSM reports. And reports were generated consistently in all four months after he was captured:
November 20, 2002: One citation
November 21, 2002: Two citations (one contradicted by later reporting)
December 26, 2002: Three citations (one labeled “may not be true”)
January 14, 2003: One citation
January 27, 2003: One citation
January 28, 2003: One citation
February 10, 2003: One citation
February 20, 2003: One citation
May 21, 2003: One citation
February 21, 2004: Four (probably) citations, all presumably in response to 9/11 Commission questions
Thus, if al-Nashiri was waterboarded in any of the four months following his capture, information collected in the same month made it into the report. (Note, much more of this testimony was corroborated than AZ’s or KSM’s.)
In other words, they did get information from al-Nashiri, at least in the 9/11 Report, more than they did from Abu Zubaydah. And while we can’t be sure, it may have been collected using waterboarding. But for some reason, MiniCheney carefully stops short of claiming they got information from al-Nashiri.
Now, there are several possible reasons why MiniCheney doesn’t want to claim that waterboarding worked with al-Nashiri. Read more →