Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Yes, I'm a witch & I got on my broom & flew to the Sabbat & Satan was there in the form of a goat & we made mad love..." etc. etc. etc.

Could we have a real report on '9/11'? Without bogus data based on torture confessions? Huh? Could we, could we?

9/11 Commission controversy

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:50 PM PT

By Robert Windrem and Victor Limjoco

The 9/11 Commission suspected that critical information it used in its landmark report was the product of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida operatives - interrogations that many critics have labeled torture. Yet, commission staffers never questioned the agency about the interrogation techniques and in fact ordered a second round of interrogations specifically to ask additional questions of the same operatives, NBC News has learned.

Those conclusions are the result of an extensive NBC News analysis of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report and interviews with Commission staffers and current and former U.S. intelligence officials.

The analysis shows that much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was derived from the interrogations of high-ranking al-Qaida operatives. Each had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Some were even subjected to waterboarding, the most controversial of the techniques, which simulates drowning.

The NBC News analysis shows that more than one quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al-Qaida operatives who were subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations is central to the Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks. The analysis also shows - and agency and commission staffers concur - there was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, done specifically to answer new questions from the Commission.

9/11 Commission staffers say they "guessed" but did not know for certain that harsh techniques had been used, and they were concerned that the techniques had affected the operatives’ credibility. At least four of the operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being "tortured." The claims came during their hearings last spring at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We were not aware, but we guessed, that things like that were going on," Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission executive director, told NBC News. "We were wary…we tried to find different sources to enhance our credibility."

Specifically, the NBC News analysis shows 441 of the more than 1,700 footnotes in the Commission’s Final Report refer to the CIA interrogations. Moreover, most of the information in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Report came from the interrogations. Those chapters cover the initial planning for the attack, the assembling of terrorist cells, and the arrival of the hijackers in the U.S. In total, the Commission relied on more than 100 interrogation reports produced by the CIA. The second round of interrogations sought by the Commission involved more than 30 separate interrogation sessions...[Open in new window]



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