05
May
09

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from The White House

washington-post

Newswire Updates from the Washington Post:

No Waterboarding Used in Questioning On Al-Qaeda Ties to Iraq, Officials Say
from Wash Post – World News by Walter Pincus

Senior intelligence officials yesterday acknowledged that two al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been questioned about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq when the two men underwent CIA interrogation in 2002 and 2003. But the officials denied that the questioning on Iraq had included waterboarding.

“The two top priorities driving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were information on the locations of al-Qaeda leadership and plots against the United States,” one intelligence official said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject publicly. “Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period,” he added.

Recent media accounts have reported allegations that the waterboardings of Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, were ordered by Bush administration officials seeking to find evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, which the officials sought as a justification for military action against Iraq.

Zelikow: Harsh Interrogations A “Collective Failure”
from The Huffington Post | Washington Post

The Senate’s first hearing exploring the alleged torture of detainees rapidly descended into partisan counterattacks yesterday, as Democrats sought to portray the Bush administration’s decision making about the interrogation techniques as riddled with misstatements and defective legal conclusions.

Former State Department counselor Philip D. Zelikow and retired FBI agent Ali Soufan told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about their unsuccessful attempts to block or reverse detainee interrogation techniques that included waterboarding and repeatedly slamming detainees into flexible walls.

Soufan left a secret overseas prison in 2002 after registering concerns to his superiors at the bureau about CIA contractors engaged in what he called “amateurish, Hollywood-style interrogation methods.” Zelikow and his colleagues had forcefully argued that the Bush White House should halt the practices. He said he wrote a memo challenging the legality of the interrogation techniques. The most controversial of those techniques — waterboarding — had ended three years earlier. He said administration officials tried to destroy the memo, which is still classified, in early 2006.

Statement of President Barack Obama on Release of OLC Memos
The White House | Office of the Press Secretary

The Department of Justice will today release certain memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005 as part of an ongoing court case. These memos speak to techniques that were used in the interrogation of terrorism suspects during that period, and their release is required by the rule of law.

What Makes the United States Special
from White House.gov Blog Feed

Last week the President released memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005 as part of an ongoing court case. The memos discussed techniques that were used in the interrogation of terrorism suspects during that period, techniques that President Obama has disavowed.   Today the President visited CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia to speak to CIA employees directly. Telling them of his great faith in them, and the faith that the American people have in them, he went on to discuss precisely why he has decided to change interrogation policy for the United States:Now, I have put an end to the interrogation techniques described in those OLC memos, and I want to be very clear and very blunt. I’ve done so for a simple reason: because I believe that our nation is stronger and more secure when we deploy the full measure of both our power and the power of our values –- including the rule of law. I know I can count on you to do exactly that.

There have been some conversations that I’ve had with senior folks here at Langley in which I think people have expressed understandable anxiety and concern. So I want to make a point that I just made in the smaller group. I understand that it’s hard when you are asked to protect the American people against people who have no scruples and would willingly and gladly kill innocents. Al Qaeda is not constrained by a constitution. Many of our adversaries are not constrained by a belief in freedom of speech, or representation in court, or rule of law. I’m sure that sometimes it seems as if that means we’re operating with one hand tied behind our back, or that those who would argue for a higher standard are naïve. I understand that. You know, I watch the cable shows once in a while. (Laughter.)

What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it’s hard, not just when it’s easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it’s expedient to do so. That’s what makes us different.

So, yes, you’ve got a harder job. And so do I. And that’s okay, because that’s why we can take such extraordinary pride in being Americans. And over the long term, that is why I believe we will defeat our enemies, because we’re on the better side of history.

So don’t be discouraged by what’s happened in the last few weeks. Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we’ve made some mistakes. That’s how we learn. But the fact that we are willing to acknowledge them and then move forward, that is precisely why I am proud to be President of the United States, and that’s why you should be proud to be members of the CIA. (Applause.)

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