1. According to The Washington Post, Sunday, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, mastermind of 9-11, went from "reticent" witness before waterboarding to conducting "terrorist tutorials" after
2. So eager to cooperate was the hairy backed butcher, he asked for a blackboard and admonished agents to pay closer attention, the stuff he was teaching was important
3. Indeed, KSM became America's "preeminent source" on Al Qaeda after undergoing sleep deprivation, mock drowning and other unpleasant experiences at the hands of our heroic secret service agents
4. According to The Post, KSM's "spirit was broken" in the month after his arrest on March 1, 2003
5. Incidentally, KSM was only captured after colleague Abu Zebaydah gave up crucial where's and when's after his enhanced interrogation
6. After his month of misery, once he started cooperating, KSM was never harshly dealt with again
7. "What do you think changed KSM's mind?" one former senior intelligence official asked rhetorically, "of course it began with that"
8. Now KSM, it is true, later told reps from the Red Cross that he lied a little to his questioners to get them to quit being so hard on him, but his "false leads" are chased down, his misinformation is subject to correction by the legwork of agents on the ground
9. Inspector General Helgerson remains noncommittal on the politically charged question of the effectiveness of EIT's, he does not say they worked, he does not say they didn't
10. But even Attorney General Holder's chief apologist has trouble denying the obvious: "Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," [Helgerson] said in an interview. "But we didn't have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out"
11. Still, according to The Post: "Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals -- many of whom we had never heard of before -- that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary
12. Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York"
13. CIA agents present at the time got the impression, they said, that KSM, like other detainees, felt that it was ok to stop resisting after he had endured a certain amount of pressure
14. "Once the harsher techniques were used on [detainees], they could be viewed as having done their duty to Islam or their cause, and their religious principles would ask no more of them," said the former official, who requested anonymity because the events are still classified. "After that point, they became compliant."
15. Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda's strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States
16. The source used by The Post to discover these dramatic developments are the very documents released by Attorney General Holder on Monday
17. Stunningly stupid politics, Mr President
After enduring the CIA's harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency's secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called "terrorist tutorials."
These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its "preeminent source" on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.
"KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete," according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA's then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.
The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general's report and other documents released this week indicate.