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Friday, December 09, 2005

Torture = bad intelligence

Douglas Jehl, in The New York Times, December 9, describes one case of interrogation under rendition:
The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials....

The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. [Ibn al-Shaykh al-]Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

The fact that Mr. Libi recanted after the American invasion of Iraq and that intelligence based on his remarks was withdrawn by the C.I.A. in March 2004 has been public for more than a year.
By March 2004, of course, the US had already been in Iraq for a year, so it was a little late to recant his "intelligence."

It was pretty major stuff:
In statements before the war, and without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, and other officials repeatedly cited the information provided by Mr. Libi as "credible" evidence that Iraq was training Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons. Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."
All BS.

Oh, and DIA had concluded he was a probable fabricator in February 2002!


At the time of his capture, al-Libi was the top al Qaeda figure in US custody. Yet, the US handed him over to Egypt in January 2002.

January 2002! Why would the US hand over its top al-Qaeda captive just months after 9/11? Egypt conveniently gave him back to the US in February 2003, weeks before the war against Iraq began.

The US claims that it gained assurances from Egypt that al-Libi wouldn't be tortured.

Wink, wink.

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