Now Ali Soufan (pictured here in Afghanistan) a former FBI agent and who has been described as America's most successful Al-Qaeda interrogator, has come out and said the use of torture was unneccesary.
Time magazine has reported:
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Soufan says Abu Zubaydah gave up the information between March and June 2002, when he was being interrogated by Soufan, another FBI agent and some CIA officers. But that was not the result of harsh techniques, including waterboarding, which were not introduced until August. "We were getting a lot of useful material from [Abu Zubaydah], and we would have continued to get material from him. The rough tactics were not necessary."
There is little doubt that the torture techniques were not neccessary. Perhaps it was because Bush and Cheney ignored eight months worth of warnings leading up to the 911 attacks and were responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans because of their negligence that they went overboard in trying to prevent another attack.
Soufan stated unequivocally that torture doesn't work. He told Time magazine:
"When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them," he says. "That means the information you're getting is useless."
Defenders of waterboarding and the Bush decision to use it have tried to claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheik Mohammad in 2005 led to information that prevented an attack on the Library Buidling in Los Angeles. But other documents show that plot was discovered and broken up in 2002 using conventional interrogation techniques.
Soufan said his main objection to the techniques was moral. "To use violence against detainees," he says, "is [al-Qaeda's] way, not the American way."
Soufan said that when the harsh techniques were introduced he protested and his bosses at the FBI backed him up. He was removed from his assignment as an interrogator.
As of now it appears that against Obama's wishes, Senator Leahy is going to hold hearings into whether anyone in the Bush Administration violated any laws. Those hearings alone could do more good to re-establish the credibility of the United States than any speech made by Obama.
And the contention that somehow knowing the limits of US interrogators will make Al-Qaeda prisoners stronger and more apt to withold information doesn't hold, pardon the pun, any water.