"CIA IG Report Confirms Effectiveness of CIA Interrogation Program"
That's the title on a Republican memo now being circulated on the Hill:
DATE: August 24, 2009
SUBJECT: release of CIA IG report confirms effectiveness of CIA interrogation program
A redacted version of the CIA Inspector General Report on the CIA interrogation program was released today. Media coverage seems to imply that CIA interrogators were constantly going beyond programmatic guidance, where the IG Report found the reality to be that “there were few instances of deviations from approved procedures.” IG Report page 5, para 10. Additionally, the media today has latched on to the use of a gun in an interrogation, without usually reporting the other important element of that salacious story, which is that the interrogator was promptly disciplined for his actions. Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith, CIA Officer Disciplined for Alleged Gun Use in Interrogation, Wash Post (Aug. 23, 2009).
Similarly going unreported today is that the release of the IG report should finally put to rest claims that the CIA interrogation program was not effective and did not produce actionable intelligence, made, for example, by Senator Whitehouse on the floor of the Senate on June 9, 2009. Analysis of the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program in the IG Report reveals the following:
• “Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation of terrorists who were planning attacks, in particular, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Hambali, and Al-Nashiri.” page 88 para 217.
• After the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques on the bomber of the USS Cole, “al-Nashiri provided lead information on other terrorists during his first day of interrogation.” pages 35-36, para 76.
• Hambali “provided information that led to the arrest of previously unknown members of an Al-Qa’ida cell in Karachi.” page 87 para 216.
• Intelligence derived from the CIA interrogation program led to a general increase in relevant intelligence reports, producing over 3,000 intelligence reports between 9/11 and the end of April 2003. page 86 para 213.
• A redacted entity “judge the reporting from detainees as one of the most important sources for finished intelligence.” Similarly, another redacted entity “viewed analysts’ knowledge of the terrorist target as having much more depth as a result of information from detainees and estimated that detainee reporting is used in all counterterrorism articles produced for the most senior policymakers.” page 88 para 218.
Analysis of the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program in documents released with the CIA IG report reveals the following:
• “Results from the first al Qaeda HVT interrogated using the aforementioned enhanced techniques, Abu Zubayda, have been outstanding. . . . This has ultimately led to some instances of the US Government being able to neutralize Al Qaeda capabilities worldwide before there was an opportunity for those capabilities to engage in operations harmful to the United States.” CIA Business Plan discussing RDI program, page 13, March 7, 2003.
• “using the quality of the intelligence as the yardstick, the program has been an absolute success.” Interview with a senior CIA officer regarding CIA RDI program, page 1, para 2, July 17, 2003.
• “there was no other way CTC [CIA Counterterrorist Center] could have gotten the information they have obtained from the detainees.” Interview with a senior CIA officer regarding CIA RDI program, page 1, para 2, July 17, 2003.
• “detainees have provided information that led to the arrest of other terrorists Zubadayh provided information that led to the raid that netted Ramzi Bin al-Shibh.” Interview with a senior CIA officer regarding CIA RDI program, page 2, para 3, July 17, 2003.
• al Nashiri “is providing actionable intelligence” after the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques. Spot report regarding interrogation of al Nashiri, page 1, para 2, Jan. 22, 2003.
It is unclear why two other documents analyzing the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program, namely the CIA CTC Effectiveness Memo and the CIA DI Khalid Sheikh Mohammad Preeminent Source Memo, were not released contemporaneously with the IG report. DOJ legal opinions, for example, have cited the Effectiveness Memo for the proposition that “the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al-Qa’ida has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.” OLC CAT Memo, page 8, May 30, 2005.
The Weekly Standard
Those are some of the documents Dick Cheney wanted declassified and released. Here's his response:
Cheney Statement on CIA Documents/Investigation
Former Vice President Dick Cheney gave The Weekly Standard a statement Monday night about the CIA documents and the coming Justice Department investigation.
The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. President Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security
The Weekly Standard
This comes as no surprise to me that the documents reveal that enhanced interrogation was effective. That's what Cheney, Bush, the CIA, and everyone else who was involved, or had first hand knowledge of EI, has gone on the record and attested to it's effectiveness.