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Tenet’s Interrogation Techniques

Now that Mike Hayden has confirmed that CIA interrogators waterboarded three al-Qaeda detainees, it’s worth going back and looking at the memoir of the man in charge of CIA when that all happened — George Tenet. In his weird book, At the Center of the Storm , here’s how Tenet describes the torture of these three terrorists. Follow along at home! I’m on pages 241 and 242.

CIA officers came up with a series of interrogation techniques that would be carefully monitored at all times to ensure the safety of the prisoner. The administration and the Department of Justice were fully briefed and approved the use of these tactics. After we received written Department of Justice guidance on the interrogation issue, we briefed the chairman and ranking members of our oversight committees. While they were not asked to formally approve the program, as it was conducted under the president’s unilateral authorities, I can recall no objections being raised.

The most aggressive interrogation techniques conducted by CIA personnel were applied to only a handful of the worst terrorists on the planet, including people who had planned the 9/11 attacks and who, among other things, were responsible for journalist Daniel Pearl’s death [NB: that's a reference to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who dubiously confessed to Pearl's murder after being tortured]. The interrogation of these few individuals was conducted in a precisely monitored, measured way intended to try to prevent what we believed to be an imminent follow-on attack. Information from these interrogations helped disrupt plots aimed at locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia.

I’d tell you what that smells like, but this is a family website. Uh, torturing people to prevent "what we believed to be an imminent follow-on attack"? The first waterboarding took place nearly nine months after 9/11. Please.

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