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Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation' (torture)

Von: monkey_cartman1@yahoo.com [Profil]
Datum: 10.04.2008 14:05
Message-ID: <4029379f-f74c-4174-b34a-d28fcbdc1bc7@k37g2000hsf.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.current-eventsus.politics alt.true-crime alt.politics alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
("Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not
judge this kindly.")
------
http://www.abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/LawPolitics/story?idE83256&page=1


Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'

Detailed Discussions Were Held About Techniques to Use on al Qaeda
Suspects
By JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG, HOWARD L. ROSENBERG and ARIANE de VOGUE
April 9, 2008

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the
most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved
specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be
interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC
News.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also
approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using
different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one
method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to
break, sources said.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how
the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would
be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated
drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation
techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the
interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number
of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's
Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met
frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security
policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney,
former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA
Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.


he discussions and meetings occurred in an atmosphere of great concern
that another terror attack on the nation was imminent. Sources said
the extraordinary involvement of the senior advisers in the grim
details of exactly how individual interrogations would be conducted
showed how seriously officials took the al Qaeda threat.

It started after the CIA captured top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah
in spring 2002 in Faisalabad, Pakistan. When his safe house was raided
by Pakistani security forces along with FBI and CIA agents, Zubaydah
was shot three times during the gun battle.

At a time when virtually all counterterrorist professionals viewed
another attack as imminent -- and with information on al Qaeda scarce
-- the detention of Zubaydah was seen as a potentially critical
breakthrough.

Zubaydah was taken to the local hospital, where CIA agent John
Kiriakou, who helped coordinate Zubaydah's capture, was ordered to
remain at the wounded captive's side at all times. "I ripped up a
sheet and tied him to the bed," Kiriakou said.

But after Zubaydah recovered from his wounds at a secret CIA prison in
Thailand, he was uncooperative.

"I told him I had heard he was being a jerk," Kiriakou recalled. "I
said, 'These guys can make it easy on you or they can make it hard.'
It was after that he became defiant."

The CIA wanted to use more aggressive -- and physical -- methods to
get information.

The agency briefed high-level officials in the National Security
Council's Principals Committee, led by then-National Security Advisor
Rice and including then-Attorney General Ashcroft, which then signed
off on the plan, sources said. It is unclear whether anyone on the
committee objected to the CIA's plans for Zubaydah.

The CIA has confirmed Zubaydah was one of three al Qaeda suspects
subjected to waterboarding.

After he was waterboarded, officials say Zubaydah gave up valuable
information that led to the capture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik
Mohammad and fellow 9/11 plotter Ramzi bin al-Shibh.

Mohammad was also subjected to waterboarding by the CIA. At a hearing
before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay on March 10, 2007, KSM,
as he is known, said he broke under the harsh interrogation.

-----------
COURT: Were any statements you made as the result of any of the
treatment that you received during that time frame from 2003 to 2006?
Did you make those statements because of the treatment you receive
from these people?

KSM: Statement for whom?

COURT: To any of these interrogators.

KSM: CIA peoples. Yes. At the beginning, when they transferred me...

-----------

Lawyers in the Justice Department had written a classified memo, which
was extensively reviewed, that gave formal legal authority to
government interrogators to use the "enhanced" questioning tactics on
suspected terrorist prisoners. The August 2002 memo, signed by then
head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee, was referred to as the
so-called "Golden Shield" for CIA agents, who worried they would be
held liable if the harsh interrogations became public.

Old hands in the intelligence community remembered vividly how past
covert operations, from the Vietnam War-era "Phoenix Program" of
assassinations of Viet Cong to the Iran-Contra arms sales of the 1980s
were painted as the work of a "rogue agency" out of control.

But even after the "Golden Shield" was in place, briefings and
meetings in the White House to discuss individual interrogations
continued, sources said. Tenet, seeking to protect his agents,
regularly sought confirmation from the NSC principals that specific
interrogation plans were legal.

According to a former CIA official involved in the process, CIA
headquarters would receive cables from operatives in the field asking
for authorization for specific techniques. Agents, worried about
overstepping their boundaries, would await guidance in particularly
complicated cases dealing with high-value detainees, two CIA sources
said.

Highly placed sources said CIA directors Tenet and later Porter Goss
along with agency lawyers briefed senior advisers, including Cheney,
Rice, Rumsfeld and Powell, about detainees in CIA custody overseas.

"It kept coming up. CIA wanted us to sign off on each one every time,"
said one high-ranking official who asked not to be identified. "They'd
say, 'We've got so and so. This is the plan.'"

Sources said that at each discussion, all the Principals present
approved.

"These discussions weren't adding value," a source said. "Once you
make a policy decision to go beyond what you used to do and conclude
it's legal, (you should) just tell them to implement it."

Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He
agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics
and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that
senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details
of interrogations, sources said.


According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting:
"Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not
judge this kindly."

The Principals also approved interrogations that combined different
methods, pushing the limits of international law and even the Justice
Department's own legal approval in the 2002 memo, sources told ABC
News.

At one meeting in the summer of 2003 -- attended by Vice President
Cheney, among others -- Tenet made an elaborate presentation for
approval to combine several different techniques during
interrogations, instead of using one method at a time, according to a
highly placed administration source.

A year later, amidst the outcry over unrelated abuses of Iraqi
prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the controversial 2002 legal memo, which gave
formal legal authorization for the CIA interrogation program of the
top al Qaeda suspects, leaked to the press. A new senior official in
the Justice Department, Jack Goldsmith, withdrew the legal memo -- the
Golden Shield -- that authorized the program.

But the CIA had captured a new al Qaeda suspect in Asia. Sources said
CIA officials that summer returned to the Principals Committee for
approval to continue using certain "enhanced interrogation
techniques."

Then-National Security Advisor Rice, sources said, was decisive.
Despite growing policy concerns -- shared by Powell -- that the
program was harming the image of the United States abroad, sources say
she did not back down, telling the CIA: "This is your baby. Go do it."

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