"We have laid it all out for our enemies. Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again" — Anonymous Bush administration official, protesting Obama's release of the torture memos.
“I don't believe Obama would intentionally endanger the nation, so it must be that he thinks either 1. the previous administration, including the CIA professionals who have defended this program, is lying about its importance and effectiveness, or 2. he believes we are no longer really at war and no longer face the kind of grave threat to our national security this program has protected against.”The former. To date, the Bush administration have not been able to name a single piece of actionable intelligence that came from torturing suspects, although in the WSJ today Mukasey and Hadley trot out the usual claims about Abu Zubaydah:
The terrorist Abu Zubaydah... disclosed some information voluntarily. But he was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of Sept. 11, who in turn disclosed information which -- when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydah -- helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists, and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the U.S.Zubaydah is the suspect they waterboarded 83 times, and whose coerced testimony triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantom plots — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty — none of which turned out to have any basis in reality. “What we got was pabulum,” said FBI agent Jack Cloonan. "We spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms," said one intelligence official.
Instead, watching his torment caused great distress to his captors, the official said. Even for those who believed that brutal treatment could produce results, the official said, “seeing these depths of human misery and degradation has a traumatic effect.”