December 5, 2005


Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret CIA Prisons: 10 Out of 11 High-Value Terror Leaders Subjected to 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques' (BRIAN ROSS and RICHARD ESPOSITO, Dec. 5, 2005, ABC News)

Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.

Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert. [...]

Sources tell ABC that the CIA's secret prisons have existed since March 2002 when one was established in Thailand to house the first important al Qaeda target captured. Sources tell ABC that the approval for another secret prison was granted last year by a North African nation.

Sources tell ABC News that the CIA has a related system of secretly returning other prisoners to their home country when they have outlived their usefulness to the United States.

These same sources also tell ABC News that U.S. intelligence also ships some "unlawful combatants" to countries that use interrogation techniques harsher than any authorized for use by U.S. intelligence officers. They say that Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Egypt were among the nations used in order to extract confessions quickly using techniques harsher than those authorized for use by U.S. intelligence officers. These prisoners were not necessarily citizens of those nations. [...]

Of the 12 high value targets housed by the CIA, only one did not require water boarding before he talked. Ramzi bin al-Shibh broke down in tears after he was walked past the cell of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner for Sept. 11. Visibly shaken, he started to cry and became as cooperative as if he had been tied down to a water board, sources said.

So torture works.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2005 11:13 PM

Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality

Has Patrick Fitzgerald been notified?

Posted by: Gideon at December 5, 2005 11:29 PM

It might "work," but we don't know that from the article, which only mentions successfully obtaining confessions. Which I suppose is information, and I suppose it has some use. But OJ, didn't you explicitly mention confessions as one of the things you *shouldn't use torture to extract? Because such confessions aren't usually independently verifiable, and if you can verify them, why do you need to torture to get information you already have?

Posted by: ted welter at December 5, 2005 11:46 PM

ted welter:

"Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" (EIT) may or may not be "torture" - most of the techniques used, (that we're aware of), do NOT rise to the level of "torture", as practiced by actual torturers from various times and places.

In fact, they're the kind of almost-torture that we use on some of OUR OWN MILITARY PERSONNEL, to train them in how to deal with and resist actual torture.
A few of this forum's regulars have been through that kind of training.

EIT may be used for a variety of reasons.

First, NO info obtained from interrogation, especially under duress, can be considered definitive.
So, we want to sweat ALL of the assets under our control, and see if we can get independent verification from several sources.
That's why we might "need to torture to get information [we] already have". The info we already have isn't 100%.

Secondly, info from interrogation isn't like a novel, with a comprehensive narrative and consistent characters.
It's much more like a jigsaw puzzle, one that's been split up among many people, who may not even realize that they're carrying any pieces.
The smallest, most trivial-seeming detail from one guy may be a thread that leads to unraveling someone else's cover story, or even lead to a previously-unknown cell.

These guys have had to tell their life stories a thousand times, from many different angles, with the interrogators asking out-of-sequence questions, to try to rattle the suspects, and cause them to give up info that they were trying to conceal, or to have them remember some small detail that they had previously not remembered, or thought was unimportant, or a given.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 12:19 AM

Bseides the 20% who are out and out moonbat Bush-haters, and er Randy Andy Sullivan, is there any American who is gives a rat's behind about what we're doing to filth like Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheik Mohammed?

Frankly, I'm elated that all it took to get the former to talk was seeing the latter, Man would I like to see what ole Ramsi saw in tha tcell.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 6, 2005 1:23 AM

I really could care les about how these scum are treated, and I doubt that most Americans do either. I just don't understand the obsession of the media with this issue. Or John McCain.

Further, when is the administration going get a clue and start taking action against the CIA leakers. Fire them stop their pensions. Send them to jail. DoJ can do that without Fitz in this case.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 6, 2005 1:26 AM

Whoever leaked the CIA airline & prison stories should be executed, as there is a pretty clear & open attempt to undermine the White House foreign policy going on...

Posted by: b at December 6, 2005 2:11 AM


Yes, these guys aren't confessing, they're narcing.

Posted by: oj at December 6, 2005 7:57 AM

It is good to see others picking up on the fact that this is a major security breach. Assuming that the story is true, it is obvious that the greater the truth, the greater the harm.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 6, 2005 8:11 AM