November 24, 2005

ACCEPT THE BODYGUARDS? OR GET TO THE TRUTHS?:

Shift on Suspect Is Linked to Role of Qaeda Figures (DOUGLAS JEHL and ERIC LICHTBLAU, 11/24/05, NY Times)

The Bush administration decided to charge Jose Padilla with less serious crimes because it was unwilling to allow testimony from two senior members of Al Qaeda who had been subjected to harsh questioning, current and former government officials said Wednesday.

The two senior members were the main sources linking Mr. Padilla to a plot to bomb targets in the United States, the officials said.

The Qaeda members were Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a top recruiter, who gave their accounts to American questioners in 2002 and 2003. The two continue to be held in secret prisons by the Central Intelligence Agency, whose internal reviews have raised questions about their treatment and credibility, the officials said. [...]

[A]review, completed in April 2003 by American intelligence agencies shortly after Mr. Mohammed's capture, assessed the quality of his information from initial questioning as "Precious Truths, Surrounded by a Bodyguard of Lies."


As the title of the review suggests, torture can break through the lies and get you to the truth.

MORE:
Limits to Interrogation: The Man in the Snow White Cell (Merle L. Pribbenow, Studies in Intelligence)

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2005 11:32 AM
Comments

Rather, "torture", the kind of discomfort that Americans are willing to apply to prisoners - slapping them, playing loud music, turning up the AC, making them stand all day (but not all night), withholding dessert from their meal trays...

As the Pribbenow piece shows, it takes an extraordinary person to hold out for long periods of intense questioning.
As soon as you start giving more than "name, rank, and serial number", no matter how innocuous the info seems, it can be combined with info from other sources to piece together the big picture.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 25, 2005 8:12 AM
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