COMMENTS: Not Kindly

ABC brandished an Exclusive label on the results of Jan Crawford Greenburg's Investigation into the National Security Council's approval of CIA torture of three captured leaders of al-Qaeda--although she did not use the word "torture." Instead she described the "enhanced interrogation techniques" as being "slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning" or a "choreographed" interrogation using them in combination.

Crawford Greenburg revealed that six principal members of the NSC discussed what techniques to use in detail and explicitly approved them. They were Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet and John Ashcroft. CIA Director Tenet insisted that the discussions take place in order to protect his spies from prosecution. Attorney General Ashcroft argued that the tactics were legal yet he predicted: "History will not judge this kindly."

The first prisoner whose case Tenet brought to the NSC was abu-Zubaydah who had been captured in Pakistan but was "uncooperative." Crawford Greenburg quoted unidentified "officials" as claiming that after he was waterboarded abu-Zubaydah "gave up valuable information that led them to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed." When the CIA captured a third al-Qaeda leader and asked NSC Advisor Rice for permission to continue "enhanced" techniques, she was reportedly decisive: "This is your baby. Go do it."

Crawford Greenburg concluded with President George Bush's position on these interrogations: they are "legal and produced critical information that saved lives."


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