Friday, December 07, 2007

False confessions from torture produced Iraq WMD claims

It turns out that part of the intelligence case for Iraq WMD claims and a concern about al-Qaeda trying to obtain them was the result of false confessions extracted via waterboarding and hypothermia treatment.

UPDATE (January 27, 2010): The CIA operative, John Kiriakou, who claimed in the media that Zubaydah produced accurate intelligence information as a result of waterboarding has now retracted the claim in his new book. He gave accurate information before waterboarding, and, as Andrew Sullivan points out in the link above, inaccurate information as a result of waterboarding.


Trott said...

I passed the Sullivan article to a friend who sent me back, in part, the following response:

Wikipedia has a good article on al-Libi

The wikipedia article suggests that "al-Libi was intentionally
misleading interrogators" while the Sullivan article suggests he
"fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh
treatment." Pretty important difference, but I suppose in either case
the torture did not get us what we wanted. If he was misleading us,
torturing al-Libi didn't necessarily put us in a worse position than we
otherwise would have been in as Sullivan suggests.

Jim Lippard said...

Thanks for the clarification, Rich. Wikipedia supports the point that torture is no guarantee of accurate information, but you're right that it removes the element that torture *caused* the false information.