CIA waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times





Citing a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum, the New York Times said the agency used the simulated drowning technique on the two al-Qaeda operatives far more than had been previously reported.

The report recalls that in 2007, former CIA officer John Kiriakou told media organizations that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, was captured in Pakistan in March 2003. Zubaydah was caught in 2002.

Last year, Mohammed was charged with war crimes and murder by a US military commission and faces the death penalty if convicted.

The Times said the release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods that the Justice Department under the administration of former president George W. Bush declared legal.



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Stephen J Cipolla - 4/20/2009

What debate about the morality and efficacy? The only moral debate should now be focused tightly upon Obama's inaction. His decision to let the people who did this escape sanction under US statutes forbidding torture is the only decision that has current moral relevance. He cut a deal with someone for something. CIA? Conservative Democrats balking at his expensive bailouts and stimulus packages?

Prosecutors don't agree not to charge someone without getting something in return, especially when the "someone" is a political nemesis and the case against him looks very strong. Given the White House has stated affirmatively that the President himself made the decision not to prosecute, I assume that he got something for it.

Eric Holder declared that waterboarding was torture within days of his approval as AG. The debate over whether torture yields accurate information is not a defense to torture. How could it be? If that defense had been accepted at Nuremburg, how many more Nazis would have walked away? (I mean, in addition to the ones we helped avoid prosecution because they possessed important information about the Russians, or rocketry.)

Obama has effectively surrendured any claim to moral leadership in the areas of international justice and the domestic rule of law. He should be censured. But, the Republicans can't exaclty support that, can they?

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