Yet another "torture works" claim that has serious problems.
CIA official: no proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks
"The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos. The IG's report is among several indications that the Bush administration's use of abusive interrogation methods was less productive than some former administration officials have claimed. President Bush told a September 2006 news conference that one plot, to attack a Los Angeles office tower, was "derailed" in early 2002 — before the harsh CIA interrogation measures were approved, contrary to those who claim that waterboarding revealed it. Last December, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine that he didn't believe that intelligence gleaned from abusive interrogation techniques had disrupted any attacks on America."
And on the topic of SERE:
"The Bush administration erred by depending on a military training program, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, (SERE) to assess the risks that a suspected terrorist might face when being waterboarded. Individuals undergoing SERE training are obviously in a very different situation from detainees undergoing interrogation; SERE trainees know it is part of a training program," Bradbury wrote, borrowing from the IG report's conclusion.
Waterboarding terrorist suspects also differed substantially from its limited use in the SERE program. Quoting from the IG report, Bradbury wrote, "The waterboard technique . . . was different from the technique described in the DOJ opinion and used in the SERE training . . . At the SERE school . . . the subject's airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency interrogator . . . applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee's mouth and nose." Bradbury said the inspector general reported: "OMS contends that the expertise of the SERE psychologist/interrogators on the waterboard was probably misrepresented at the time, as the SERE waterboard experience is so different from the subsequent Agency usage as to make it almost irrelevant."
So even if you've been through SERE school, you haven't really been waterboarded.