According to Ali Soufan, an FBI interrogator, waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" procedures caused a key Al Qaeda operative to clam up, not provide actionable intelligence as former Vice President Dick Cheney and others have claimed.
Soufan provided gripping Senate testimony today. He related in detail how he was able to get Abu Zubaydah, a suspect who was believed to play a lead role in Al Qaeda, to talk.
In my first interrogation of the terrorist Abu Zubaydah, who had strong links to al Qaeda's leaders and who knew the details of the 9/11 plot before it happened, I asked him his name. He replied with his alias. I then asked him, "how about if I call you Hani?" That was the name his mother nicknamed him as a child. He looked at me in shock, said "ok," and we started talking.
Soufan was well suited to interrogate Abu Zubaydah. He had been involved in hundreds of other interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects. He told the committee about his experience successfully "breaking" an Al Qaeda operative known as Abu Jandal and others.
Soufan told the subcommittee that after Abu Zubaydah was cooperating, a CIA team led by a contractor began to use increasingly abusive interrogation techniques - over Soufan's objections - and Abu Zubaydah stopped talking.
Soufan is one of many interrogators whose experience proves that using physical force to "break" detainees is not an effective way to obtain information.