What Cheney Tells You Is Wrong
The professionals involved in [the torture] program were very, very cautious, very careful — wouldn’t do anything without making certain it was authorized and that it was legal. And any suggestion to the contrary is just wrong. Did it produce the desired results? I think it did.
I think, for example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was the number three man in al Qaeda, the man who planned the attacks of 9/11, provided us with a wealth of information. There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source. So, it’s been a remarkably successful effort. I think the results speak for themselves.
As for K.S.M. [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] himself, who (as Jane Mayer reports) was waterboarded, reportedly hung for hours on end from his wrists, beaten, and subjected to other agonies for weeks, Bush said he provided “many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans.” K.S.M. was certainly knowledgeable. It would be surprising if he gave up nothing of value. But according to a former senior C.I.A. official, who read all the interrogation reports on K.S.M., “90 percent of it was total fucking bullshit.” A former Pentagon analyst adds: “K.S.M. produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were.”
So “about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda” three or four years ago was 90 percent “wrong.” Interestingly, what you could have found out without torture is that Al Qaeda uses torture as a propaganda tool to recruit terrorists. Who needs Khalid Sheikh Mohammed when you have Dick Cheney?