Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, takes to the NY Times to warn us that much of the official reporting about enhanced interrogation is based on lies:
John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. official and now President Obama’s nominee to head the agency, recently testified that the classified report raised “serious questions” about information he received when he was the agency’s deputy executive director. Mr. Brennan said publicly what many of us — who were in interrogation rooms when the program was devised — have been warning about for years: senior officials, right up to the president himself, were misled about the enhanced interrogation program.
That's interesting. We presume he has examples:
For instance, a 2005 Justice Department memo claimed that waterboarding led to the capture of the American-born Qaeda member Jose Padilla in 2003. Actually, he was arrested in 2002, months before waterboarding began, after an F.B.I. colleague and I got details about him from a terrorist named Abu Zubaydah. Because no one checked the dates, the canard about Mr. Padilla was repeated as truth.
Groan. That's it? We have hashed this out rereatedly - per the DoJ Inspector general's report (p. 111) and reporting in Newsweek and the NY Times, Zubaydah was captured in the spring of 2002. A team of CIA and FBI interrogators (including Mr. Soufan) worked on him, and the CIA moved to what the FBI described as "borderline torture" almost immediately. The memo authorizing enhanced interrogation was dated August 1, 2002 but some of the enhanced tecnhiques (but not waterboarding) were employed against Zubaydah before that date.
Mr. Soufan has misled on this before. Here he is in an April 2009 guest Times piece (my emphasis):
It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August.
Within days, Mr. Zubaydah was being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques — he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music — the genesis of practices later adopted by some within the military, and widely used by the Central Intelligence Agency in handling prominent terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons.
Not waterboarding, but not a good time, either. So how did that get dropped from Mr. Soufan's account?
And his current description of the OLC memo is false. Today, he writes this:
For instance, a 2005 Justice Department memo claimed that waterboarding led to the capture of the American-born Qaeda member Jose Padilla in 2003.
Hmm. The memo claimed that enhanced interrogation techniques generally, not waterboarding specifically, led to Padilla. That said, the correct arrest date was May 2002, which means the harsh springtime interrogation of Zubaydah (prior to written approval of the EITs) was credited with the Padilla intel.
Based on Mr. Soufan's efforts I think it is fair to conclude that lies are being told about the enhanced interrogation program.