McClatchy: Torture Used to Find Iraq – al Qaeda Link

McClatchy’s Jonathan S. Landay reminds us of what it was like when we had real journalists. From Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link:

“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly – Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 – according to a newly released Justice Department document.

I’m all for looking forward, and not spending political capital on partisan fighting. But looking forward, I don’t want to live in a country that lets torturers who committed Spanish Inquisition-style barbarity in pursuit of political cover for their lame policy choices get off scott-free.

42 Responses to “McClatchy: Torture Used to Find Iraq – al Qaeda Link”

  1. NorthernLite Says:

    You mean if tortured long enough people will say what they think their torturers want to hear to make the torutre stop?

  2. NorthernLite Says:

    You mean if tortured long enough people will say what they think their torturers want to hear to make the torture stop?

  3. shcb Says:

    Or tell you where the people who are going to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge are so you can arrest them and save the lives of thousands. Or find the guys who are planning on using a dirty bomb in LA.

    You guys say you are for full disclosure, why did Obama black out the parts of the memos that showed the successes?

  4. NorthernLite Says:

    I know, that’s the kind of bs Bush was famous for. I expect more from Obama.

    But I have a feeling they’ll be released, they’re probably just preparing ALL the memos, such as the ones that show where excessive torture resulted in false information, waste of intelligence resources and so on.

    Information about Bin Laden’s plans to attack the trade centre was gathered without torture. Ignored by Bush whilst on vacation, but still morally gathered. Hopefully, one day in a courtroom ALL of this will come out.

  5. shcb Says:

    What information about Bin Laden’s attack plans? Something specific? Something like how the bridge was going to be destroyed and who was going to do it, and where he could be found, along with the torch, and engineering drawings of the bridge, in an appartment.

  6. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I thought that all information about the Brooklyn Bridge plot came from an NSA wiretap.

  7. enkidu Says:

    yeah, who could have known when you have a PDB titled
    “Bin Laden Determined to Strike In US”
    with airplanes…

  8. shcb Says:

    The initial information that the bridge was a target came from a wiretap, it seems Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t translate well into Arabic so it was easy to spot. They then went to a guy that had worked on the bridge for many years and asked him how he would destroy the bridge if he were a terrorist. He said there were some buildings at the base of the bridge where a person could hide out for months because no one ever went there. So the police started patrolling those buildings from land and water. Then the NSA got messages that said the area they wanted to attack was being watched closely and to wait until the heat was off, so they knew they had it right. About this time we captured one of the terrorists, the one whose picture looks like he was on a three day drunk, the one that beheaded folks, after 80 or so sessions of water boarding he broke and gave them the name of the guy tasked with downing the bridge and his address, they arrested him with his acetylene torch and drawings of the bridge showing where to cut. It seems that the plan was to cut through the massive cables one strand at a time, this would be a very time consuming venture, but they had all the time in the world since the area wasn’t patrolled before the wiretapping operation. So you see everything worked, the bridge is still standing and all those innocent people are still going home to their kids. And a guy that beheads innocent people got a little wet.

  9. shcb Says:


    How specific was that document you are refering to?

  10. shcb Says:

    When House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, asked Obama to release more memos at the meeting, Obama said Cheney is only telling one side of the story, one senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told FOX News.

    Yes, the other side of the story.

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    If the past is any lesson for the present, they’ll get off scott free:

  12. enkidu Says:

    read it yourself dbag:

    specifically mentions wanted to strike in the US
    hit the WTC and Washington
    mentions hijacking airplanes a couple times

    I suppose seeing as how dumb dumbya and co really are, they’d need a lot more specifics, like the 15 Saudi hijacker names, their passport info, the exact time and date, flight info, details about exactly how the boxcutters were to be used, etc.

    and then they’d still f it up (thats just how they roll)

  13. shcb Says:

    Where exactly does it mention that Washington and the WTC are targets? Line number, quote, however you want to do it.

  14. knarlyknight Says:

    The document also didn’t sepcify that the alleged hijackers would be using boxcutters to gain control of the airplanes, it was a “briefing”, the details would lay elsewhere and would be available to the prreznitwit had he had any interest.

    Also, for years – and especially after the 97 WTC truck bomb in the parking garage of WTC – it was well known that the WTC towers were high if not the #1 target for nutbars. You would expect the targets to be listed in the meno only if they were unusual or known with certainty. Otherwise, it goes without saying that the president has a duty to ensure that the most likely and highest value targets are protected.

    Dumbya had advance knowledge of imminent hijacking (as mentioned in the memo) and procurement of explosives (as mentioned in the memo). That is warning enough for action. What action? Well for one, if Obama had been in charge in 2001 and had seen that memo he would have CANCELLED or scaled down or postponed the multiple “war” games that left NORAD unprepared and unable to protect our skies.

  15. enkidu Says:

    You didn’t bother to actually read that, did you. That isn’t a question, we know the answer. Just like dumbya, who was reported to have said after receiving this “OK, you’ve covered yer ass”

    Since this is a picture of the PDB rather than a searchable text based .pdf I will actually take the time to spell it out for you (though perhaps given your low reading and reasoning abilities, perhaps a speak n spell would be more appropriate)

    para 1 , end of second line (end of para)
    “his followers would follow the example of the World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America”

    so… it doesn’t seem clear that they will be targeting America, specifically the WTC? Is it the acronym that confuses you? Are you aware enough of real world history (rather than that quixotic melange of bullshit you call ‘history’ over in the Wingnutoverse) to know who R Yousef might be and what he did? probably not…

    para 2 (blockquote)
    “bin Laden told his followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington

    so… several times they mention hijacking airplanes (tho not using them as weapons, quite the gotcha (rolls eyes))

    yup whoda thunkit that bin Laden wanted to strike in DC and at the WTC!?!?!
    That is just crazy talk!

    epic fail, truly one for the history books

  16. shcb Says:

    How is any of that actionable? There isn’t even a timeline with something as broad as a one month window for any of this. You guys are nuts, absolutely nuts. You have the statement of the WTC all wrong, but that is your game, you take a grouping of words and make it to what ever best fits your point, there was more mention of government buildings in NYC than the WTC and more emphasis of explosives than using planes as they were used, the purpose of hijacking in this memo was as bargaining tool not a weapon. I stand by my assertion that you guys aren’t very skilled at analyzing things.

  17. enkidu Says:

    wow, you are nuts

    Two clear examples on the PDB in the first two paras and those quotes are somehow wrong? Your Deciderator didn’t prevent those hijackings. No hijackings no planes as weapons. End of story.

    I see explosives mentioned once. Hijackings twice. What is the math on that over in the Wingnutoverse?

    Your analysis seems to be pulled from your ass.

  18. knarlyknight Says:

    I already gave you one highly obvious “actionable” item for the president:

    He should have ensured NORAD was on proper alert and that NORAD functioning was not impaired by multiple simultaneous wargames that left NORAD airspace defenseless on 9/11. Reschedule, re-position or re-plan wargames so that hijacked planes could have been intercepted and escorted by fighters in visual contact with the cockpit as per standard operating procedures.

    That was an epic failure of NORAD oversight, and with this note in the president’s hands the responsibility is in large part his.

  19. shcb Says:


    At least there is some plausibility to your comments, but there is no reference to such ancillary documents in this one. Enky’s point was that this document proved that Bush was negligent, without references to other documents your point is pure supposition. Arabs want to hijack planes to use against us in some way, STOP THE PRESSES! In our two largest cities, ANOTHER HEADLINE! All we have to do is stop them from hijacking those planes and we will all remain safe BRRRILIANT! This paper was certainly the roadmap to stopping those specific hijackings, no doubt. Good job Enky, I think you have the smoking gun.

    I wrote the above before your last comment Knarly.

    I’ll give you partial credit for the NORAD item, but only using Enky’s paper there is nothing that says the attack will happen in the next week or the next 3 months, or even if it will be from the air, or which coast. These drills have to be run at some point.

    And were we willing to shoot down 5 planes in 2001? Judging by this memo we were more inclined to think they would have been more traditional hijackings with Air Force jets escorting them to a place where the hostage situation would play out.

    There just isn’t anything in this paper to make one draw the conclusions you guys are drawing.

  20. knarlyknight Says:

    As the plane headed for more highly populated area (manhattan) on a bombing run type approach someone with a cool head might have made the call to shoot it down. If not, then after the first impact to the North tower the next several planes would have been simple decisions, even for your “cheerleader” president.

    But we’re off point. The issue is that Bush failed. Miserably.

  21. enkidu Says:

    sweet cheese and rice lil ricki, it isn’t “my paper” it’s the Presidential Daily Briefing or PDB from 8/6/01. Northernlite made a reference to the PDB, so I linked to it. Once again for the remedial R in the class, reading the actual document it is clear that there were some possible hijackings in the works. This isn’t some opinion doc from some right wing or left wing source, it is a scan of the actual PDB. I know you think it clever to say well there isn’t enough information to pinpoint the date, time and methods, but that isn’t the amount of detail that goes into these things (note that it is a single narrow column of fairly large text, you know for folks who don’t like to read much). You’ve been brushing your teeth with bullshit for so long, you really like the taste of partisan crap by now.

    Seriously lil ricki, you need to get a clue.

    gwb presided over the worst attack on American soil ever (false flag or not). He and his cabal presided over the near destruction of the US and possibly global economy. He has one of the worst records for any president ever, but you folks just cling tight to the boat anchor that is his ‘legacy’.

    And yes, afaik SOP was to shoot down planes if they had reason to believe they would be used as weapons (there could be smuggled explosives or wmd aboard). Funny how we just happened to be completely defenseless that particular day. And Dick Cheney was in the driver’s seat for those exercises… funny.

  22. shcb Says:

    I think you are right to a point Knarly, had we had more detailed information as to the nature of the attack we probably could have, would have shot some of those planes down and that is probably the fault of the Bush administration and Congress. They should have passed the US Patriot Act the day after Bush was sworn in, then we would have know that guys were taking lessons to fly planes without the need to land those planes, then Bush should have signed an executive order on the second day to allow those guys to be waterboarded repeatedly without a break until they told us their plans, then he should have ordered them to continue the torture until they fessed up to who the guy at the top was. On the third day we should have sent a few thousand troops to the sovereign state of Afghanistan to capture Bin Laden and execute him without cause or process. By the first weekend of the presidency it all would have been done.

    Oh, the joys of Monday morning quarterbacking.

    But nothing in this paper would lead one down that road, which is the matter at hand.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    No shcb, I think it was said better elsewhere:

    Seriously lil ricki, you need to get a clue.

    gwb presided over the worst attack on American soil ever (false flag or not). He and his cabal presided over the near destruction of the US and possibly global economy. He has one of the worst records for any president ever, but you folks just cling tight to the boat anchor that is his ‘legacy’.

    And yes, afaik SOP was to shoot down planes if they had reason to believe they would be used as weapons (there could be smuggled explosives or wmd aboard). Funny how we just happened to be completely defenseless that particular day. And Dick Cheney was in the driver’s seat for those exercises… funny.

  24. knarlyknight Says:

    Now that there is proof of high explosives in substantial quantities in the WTC dust, there is no way anyone in charge on that day should continue to get a “free pass” for anything. Especially Cheney.

  25. shcb Says:

    So we are at your fall back position I see.

  26. knarlyknight Says:

    Which is more solid than a year or two ago. Now, besides solid physical evidence of high explosives and several peer reviewed scientific papers published in recognized scientific journals, there are also thousands of professional architects, engineers, physicists, lawyers, former military – air force, marines, former CIA, at least one former head of state, and more all taking the same position.

    But there are still a lot of missing pieces here’s a shortened list:

    2. Why did Ashcroft stop flying commercial airlines, citing an unidentified “threat” in July 2001?

    4. Why didn’t the Secret Service hustle Dubya out of the classroom?
    5. Why did George H.W. Bush meet bin Laden’s brother on 9/11?

    7. Where are the flight recorders?

    9. How did Bush see the first plane crash on live camera?
    10 Why was security meeting scheduled for 9/11 cancelled by WTC management on 9/10?
    13. Why did Shrub dissolve the Bin Laden Task Force?

    19. Why did Bush stop inquiries into terrorist connections of the Bin Laden family in early 2001?
    20. Who made the decision to have John O’Neill stop investigating Al-qeada accounts?
    21. Who gave the decision to give him a security job at the World Trade Center?

    29. How did a hijackers passport miraculously appear near the WTC? Who found it and what time?

    39. Did Mohammud Atta leave the US while in training and then return?
    40. Why did Atta decide to study at Opa Locka, a famous hub of 6 Navy training bases and includes government partners like U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, Police (Miami-Dade) Aviation Unit?
    41. Why was Atta allowed to study since he was stopped by the police for driving without a license and also for violating his visa?
    42. Why were Black Boxes never recovered ?

    52. Why did the FBI ignore Bin Laden’s family, who left the United States without further investigation?

    58. Whatever happened with Lotfi Raissi, who was arrested in UK for teaching the terrorist pilots? actually wiki answers this pretty well!

    70. When was the Bin Laden Home Video found and who found it?
    71. Who found the video if Northern Alliance and US troops had not yet arrived in Kandahar or Jahalabad?
    72. Does the timestamp on the Bin Laden video indicate that it was found two weeks after it was produced?
    73. Why was the public not informed who found the video and when?
    74. Why according to MONITOR magazine, were the most controversial statements translated incorrectly?

    79. Why did Bin Laden state in Umman Magazine in Sept. 2001, that he was not involved in the WTC?
    81. Did the Bin Laden Group Inc. help build ToraBora with the CIA?
    150. Why did General Mahmud Ahmad, former head of the ISI quit his position?
    151. Why did retaliation against the Taliban begin the day he stepped down?
    152. Who in the ISI paid $100,000 to Mohammad Atta?
    153. Why does Ahmad think that another secret service was involved in theWTC attack? Which Secret Service was he referring to? Did other ISI official’s believe that? Did officials of the CIA believe that? Did some officials of the Mossad believe that?
    154. What was the purpose of Ahmad’s visit to Washington on 9/11?
    155. Who told Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov to abort an air strike against Afghanistan in May 2000?
    156. Did Russian intelligence notify the CIA in 2001 that 25 terrorist pilots had been training for suicide missions, as reported in the Russian press?

    1. Is it true that the CIA is in possession of PROMIS software?
    2. What is the purpose of PROMIS?
    3. Did A.B. “Buzy” Krongard, CIA, own any stocks of United Airlines, American Airlines, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, AXA Re (insurance) which owns 25% of American Airlines, and Munich Re.?
    6. Who was the investor who purchased 2,000 UAL put options between August and September 11, 2001?
    12. Did Deutsche Bank or Wally Kromgaard purchase 4,516 put options on American Airlines as compared to 748 call options on September 10?
    13. What was the reason of Mayo Shattuck III re-asssignment on September 15th?
    1. When was the last time they met any representatives of the US-Government?
    2. What was the purpose of these meetings?
    3. Did the Taliban know Karl E. Inderfurth and State Department counterterrorism chief Michael Sheehan?
    4. Do they know which US-Representative said in February 2001: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs”?
    5. When was the last time the Taliban was in touch with this representative?

    1. Was Global Hawk technology able to remotelycontrol unmanned planes in 1999 for 27 hours?
    2. Did Northrop-Grumman use Global Hawk technology in the war in Afghanistan since October 2001?
    3. What is the purpose of unmanned technology?
    4. Is Northrup in contact with any engineers of Boeing?
    5. Did Northrup install Global Hawk technology in a commercial airplane?
    1. Did two U.S. carrier battle groups arrive in the Gulf of Arabia just off the Pakistani coast before 9/11?
    2. Did 17,000 U.S. troops join more than 23,000 NATO troops in Egypt for Operation ‘Bright Star’ on 9/11? What was the purpose of both of these operations?
    1. Why did Clinton abort an attack on Bin Laden in October 1999?
    2. Who was responsible for that operation?
    3. Why was the operation put on hold?
    4. Why did Musharraf halt a covert operation to attack Bin Laden in October 1999?

  27. shcb Says:

    But what does that have to do with Enky’s evidence? You see when you start to get cornered you revert to your comfort zone, let me bring you back.

    Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America”.

    Now Enky reads into that this annalist thought Bin Laden was going to attack the World Trade Center because those words appear in the sentence, and they fit his argument. What the sentence really means of course is that Bin Laden wanted to simply attack us on our own soil. This is further evident from the fact that LA was also mentioned. If this annalist had meant it the way Enky is portraying it, there would be no need to mention government buildings , Washington, or LA.

    This is what is so damn frustrating debating you guys, Enky pulls stuff out of his ass and you cower behind your conspiracy theories. But you are in company. AlGore, the consummate liberal is just like you:

    When Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, asked Gore to explain the cost of the legislation, Gore ignored him. Instead, he held up The New York Times and summarized an article that happened to appear that morning supporting his contention that some corporations had ignored their own research indicating that humans caused global warming. Barton asked him to answer the question about cost. Gore again held up the paper and summarized the story.

    He then compared Barton to Bernard Madoff, who swindled investors out of $50 billion, prompting Barton to interrupt Gore: “I’ve never talked to Bernie Madoff.”

    “I’m not saying that you have,” Gore replied.

  28. NorthernLite Says:

    Question for my Americans friends:

    True or False: The 9/11 hijackers entered the United States through Canada.

  29. shcb Says:

    Does it matter? As I recall they all came into the country legally, I think some of them overstayed their visas, but they all came in legally. This is one of those items that is just pure politics.

  30. knarlyknight Says:

    Entered legally? Yes, but wasn’t there pressure to approve some of the Saudi entry visas despite intelligence info about these guys that normally would have resulted in a denial of entry visas.?

    Just pure politics? Yea, like Mohammed Atta:
    39. Did Atta leave the US while in training and then return?
    40. Why did Atta decide to study at Opa Locka, a famous hub of 6 Navy training bases and includes government partners like U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, Police (Miami-Dade) Aviation Unit?
    41. Why was Atta allowed to study since he was stopped by the police for driving without a license and also for violating his visa?

  31. shcb Says:

    NL’s question referred to the flap of illegal immigration. Then this turns into the normal back and forth finger pointing that requires a scorecard to keep up with, and for what? The issues are separate, illegal immigration had nothing to do with this aspect of the story. I’m sure some of your points are true and some not true as per normal conspiracy theories. The parts that are true are separate issues.

    What people don’t realize sometimes is that on occasion you do everything right, or at least as right as you can, and you just get beat, now I’m not saying we did everything right, sure Atta should have been deported if his visa was expired, but it happens all the time, is that something that should be fixed? Absolutely.

    There doesn’t always have to be a scapegoat, the Arabs found a chink in our armor and exploited it, we found many chinks in theirs and we have exploited them, it’s just the nature of war.

  32. NorthernLite Says:

    I asked the question because there appears to be either a stunning lack of knowledge by us offificials of the 9/11 perps or an intential effort to spread falsehoods about our border.

    It’s a big deal to us because we have stood should to shoulder with you since the day you were attacked. From providng food and shelter for passengers whose planes were diverted to Canada after the attacks, to being on the front lines in Afghanistan for 7+ years, losing over 110 soldiers.

  33. knarlyknight Says:

    NL, I don’t think he knows what you’re talking about re US officials’ BS about the border… nor can he distinguish scientific facts and their significance (proof of high explosives in WTC dust) from US officials’ BS about the so called war on terror.

  34. knarlyknight Says:

    Or US officials’ BS about robbing them all blind:

  35. shcb Says:

    I understand why you are pissed NL, and I think you have every right to be pissed. This is just a case where there is absolutely no reason for this to even be an issue. It doesn’t matter where they came from if they came here legally, it doesn’t matter if they were born here. This is a case where two sides are using whatever ammunition they can find to bloody the other for no other purpose than to bloody the other, kind of like debating Enky.

    You have the open border Democrats who want to justify allowing Mexicans to flood the border so they can get their votes (I know that sounds perverse but this is aimed at people that aren’t paying attention so it works) and then you have Republicans like Hanity that are feigning indignation playing the “how dare they!” card. Nothing is accomplished by this kind of BS it just turns into a smoke screen to block actual issues that neither side really wants to address.

  36. enkidu Says:

    funny how lil ricki is always at his fallback position of ‘it’s anyone’s fault but the Rs’… pathetic

    Amazing how every wwnj just can’t accept any responsibility, ever. And when caught blatantly lying or spreading lying nonsense, the party of ‘personal responsibility’ acts like my 5 year old. 9/11? Not me! Israeli peace efforts? Not me! Energy independence? Not me! Katrina? Not me! Iraq lies? Not me! Economic meltdown? Not me! Doubled the debt? Not me! Wrecked the country? Not me!

    As an Independent voter (you know, the people who swing elections?) I find the current R party worse than contemptible. It is funny that you folks are now screaming about debt being spent *on America* when you wasted 5 or 6 TRILLION dollars of debt chasing your tail in Iraq etc.

    Please, Go Galt asap, off yourself, move to some rightwing hellhole or secede already. Just go. We won’t miss NASCAR at all (take your broken toys with you when you invade Mexico, k?) We’ll call your country Redneckistan or the Duchy of Jesusland or something (Dumbfuckistan being not safe to print on maps for kids, tho i think the short hand would be perfect: Dumfuks. Spot on for you zero information flat-earth types).

  37. NorthernLite Says:

    shcb, I’m not sure you fully understand what I’m referring to here. “Open Border Democrats”, huh? Try to put your partisan googles away for a second. This is about efforts to RESTRICT the northern border and treat us like we’re some poor-ass country.

    I’m talking about repeated accusations from BOTH Democrats and Republicans (two last week alone by your Homeland Security Sec. as well as John McCain) that the 9/11 terrorists “entered the United States through Canada” and therefore we need to build a wall or put soldiers on the border (is how Canadians are reading it).

    Like I said it’s frustrating to us for many reasons, including the two I posted above. But add to that that we have uncovered numerous plots targeting our own country, one really big one involving the “Toronto 20” who are now in jail. See our protectors (RCMP, CSIS) did their jobs, stopped attacks – without torture I might add – but politicians down there are still trying to deflect the blame for their own 9/11 ignornace and incompetence.

    It really drives us crazy up here man!

  38. NorthernLite Says:

    I don’t know one single Canadian who wants to espcape our country to live in the United States, and that’s what a lot of your politicians seem to think…just pure ignorance. Our standard of living is higher here for pete’s sake!!

  39. enkidu Says:

    “partisan googles”
    that was a great accidental turn of a phrase NL!

  40. shcb Says:


    You are looking at the transparent motives of both sides, I am refering to the underlining issues, I’m not being partisan here, both sides are playing this for thier own gain, and there is no issue. Who has been a more reliable friend than Canada? Are Canadian airports less safe than American? Are your imigration laws or enforcement more lax? The answers are no one, no and no.

  41. NorthernLite Says:

    Okay I gotchya shcb, sorry for ranting it’s just one of those things that really bothers me, and a lot of other canucks.

    enk, yeah that’s pretty funny!

  42. shcb Says:

    It should bother you, I’m a little pissed myself

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