From the Post:
When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.Turley adds:
The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.
In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.
Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as "al-Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.
The Bush torture program is a wonderful example of not just the time-proven junk that comes from torture, but also the value of legal process as a way to acquiring legitimate information in legitimate ways. Putting aside the obvious immorality of the program, the reports show how we tortured people for little more advantage than the visceral and political benefits of “getting tough on terrorism.” It turns out that we sold our collective soul pretty cheap in creating this torture program. The question is now whether Obama will continue to buy into the same cover-up by continuing to block a special counsel.I'm ashamed that I live in a country that committed torture and is currently doing everything possible to prevent those responsible for it from being brought to justice. It's an abhorrent practice, an immoral practice, an un-American practice, and we are all responsible for it if we allow Obama to sweep it under the rug because he thinks it is politically expedient to do so. There must be trials. The people must face the horrors of what has been done in our name and see that it is wrong. And we cannot afford another generation of Negropontes and Abrams. We cannot risk for the likes of John Yoo to be available to serve in a future administration. Our nation's very soul is at stake here.