Last month the CIA released the first batch of documents regarding congressional briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques(EITs). The documents were released on judges orders based on a freedom of information act request by Judicial Watch. That initial batch proved that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was lying when she said she wasn’t told about EITs:
Last year, Pelosi said she was only briefed once on the advanced interrogation methods, in September 2002. At the time, Pelosi was the House Minority Whip and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She said in May 2009 that CIA briefers told her that “the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal,” and added that waterboarding “was not being employed.”
CIA records show that during the September 2002 briefing, Pelosi and others were given “a description of the particular enhanced interrogation techniques that had been employed” on Zubaydah. The U.S. was already waterboarding Zubaydah by that point. CIA officials said they believed agency briefers had indeed informed Pelosi that Zubaydah was undergoing waterboarding sessions.
Now Judicial Watch has received the second installment of documents, these from a July 2004 congressional briefing. This meeting was significant not only because it provides additional proof that EITs were discussed with Congress, but because the legislators were told point blank that enhanced interrorgation techniques worked. No wonder why the Obama administration fought so hard to keep the details of these briefings secret.
Below is a summary of the key points in the documents and embedded at the bottom of the page are the documents themselves.
- Summary of testimony by DOD Official, Lt. Gen. William Boykin: “At this point, General Boykin read a prepared statement to the Committee in which he asserted that interrogation is a critically valuable tool, and, citing observations made by service personnel at Ft. Bragg, said that the most [imp]ortant factor in the capture of Saddam Hussein was interrogation.”
- Summary of testimony by member of the CTC (Counterterrorism Center), name redacted: “…Even today long term detainees like Khalid Shayk Muhammed and Zubaydah are providing good information because their histories go back a long way and often a tidbit they provide, while not initially operationally significant, ends up being the piece that completes the puzzle; DC/CTC closed by oting that he was personally persuaded that detainee reporting has saved lives
- Rep. Jane Harman: “What do you think of the value of enhanced techniques?” John Pistole, Witness for the FBI: “In my view the benefits are huge and the costs are insignificant. Very few detainees don’t provide us with good information….”
- Rep. Ruppersberger: “Are there procedures that we have stopped that should be resumed?” Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Army G-2, [now Director of the National Security Agency (NSA)]: “Yes. Diet and sleep management. Those, plus segregation which is still employed, are key…”
- General Alexander also testified that field commanders wanted more “97E’s” (interrogators), “even to the point of trading off some of their combat troops.”
- Saddam Hussein was not subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, but “friendly discussions with an eye to future public prosecution.”