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.

No one disputes that the interrogations were critical to the Commission’s understanding of the plot.

"What we did is the authoritative basis of knowledge on the interrogations until historians get to ply them years from now," said a former Commission staffer who worked with the CIA on the interrogation reports.

Errors pointed out
One critic of U.S. use of harsh interrogation techniques says that while the Commission Final Report remains credible, it was a mistake to base so much of it on what was retrieved from the interrogation sessions.

Karen Greenberg, director of the Center for Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law, put it this way: "You read it, the story still makes sense, forgetting the interrogations. What matters - who did it, who planned it - looks like the right story. But it should have relied on sources not tainted. It calls into question how we were willing to use these interrogations to construct the narrative."

According to both current and former senior U.S. intelligence officials, the operatives cited by the Commission were subjected to the harshest of the CIA’s methods, the "enhanced interrogation techniques." The techniques included physical and mental abuse, exposure to extreme heat and cold, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

In addition, officials of both the 9/11 Commission and CIA confirm the Commission specifically asked the agency to push the operatives on a new round of interrogations months after their first interrogations. The Commission, in fact, supplied specific questions for the operatives to the agency. This new round took place in early 2004, when the agency was still engaged in the full range of harsh techniques. The agency suspended the techniques in mid-2004. Agency spokesmen have refused to identify what techniques were used, when they were used or the names of those who were harshly questioned.

Zelikow said the lack of direct access forced the Commission to seek secondary sources and to request the new round of questioning. In the end, says Zelikow, the Commission relied heavily on the information derived from the interrogations, but remained skeptical of it. Zelikow admits that "quite a bit, if not most" of its information on the 9/11 conspiracy "did come from the interrogations."

"We didn’t have blind faith," Zelikow tells NBC News. "We therefore had skepticism. The problems (in getting cooperation from the agency) enforced our concerns about the underlying interrogation.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official says the Commission never expressed any concerns about techniques and even pushed for the new round.

"Remember," the intelligence official said, "The Commission had access to the intelligence reports that came out of the interrogation. This didn't satisfy them. They demanded direct personal access to the detainees and the administration told them to go pound sand.  

"As a compromise, they were allowed to let us know what questions they would have liked to ask the detainees.  At appropriate times in the interrogation cycle, agency questioners would go back and re-interview the detainees, many of (those) questions were variants or follow ups to stuff previously asked."

Commission staffers interviewed by NBC News do not dispute the official’s assertion that they didn’t ask about interrogation techniques. "We did not delve deeply into the question of the treatment of the prisoners", as one put it. "Standards of treatment were not part of our mission." According to the other, "We did not ask specifically. It was not in our mandate."

The commission first requested access to the detainees early in 2004, around the same time the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. In that scandal, military interrogators at Baghdad’s most notorious prison were accused of torturing low level prisoners. The Commission wanted the access not to check on interrogation techniques or the operatives’ condition, but to get their own access.

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, says he is "shocked" that the Commission never asked about extreme interrogation measures.

"If you’re sitting at the 9/11 Commission, with all the high-powered lawyers on the Commission and on the staff, first you ask what happened rather than guess," said Ratner, whose center represents detainees at Guantanamo. "Most people look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a trusted historical document. If their conclusions were supported by information gained from torture, therefore their conclusions are suspect."

Zelikow says the Commission tried its best to get inside the interrogation process.

"In early 2004, we conducted private interviews with (CIA Director George J.) Tenet. There were three interviews…five or six hours each, involving Zelikow, Kean and Hamilton," said a Commission staffer, referring to the commission director, and co-chairs, former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean and former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton. "We talked to him about access at that point…Tenet doesn’t say no…the response was ‘Talk to my people."

Tenet’s "people" explained why the commission couldn’t question the operatives.

"The explanation was that the symbiosis between the interrogator and the prisoner would be harmed," added the staffer, "…that introducing external elements could unbalance the relationship. They wanted the prisoners to have total dependency on them…all this psychology."

Although he admits neither he nor his staff asked about interrogation techniques, Zelikow now believes perhaps he should have, that there were reasons for the agency’s lack of cooperation.

"A whole lot needed to be kept from us," he said he now realizes. "It would have revealed a lot of things that it was not in the government’s interest to reveal. They might have worried what we would have learned about the interrogation techniques."

Zelikow adds that one particularly telling position was the agency’s refusal to let the Commission interview the interrogators.

"We needed more information to judge reports we were reading," he said. "We needed information about demeanor of the detainees. We needed more information on the content, context, character of the interrogations."

Current and former agency officials say the commission had enough information to fulfill their mission.

"The CIA went to great lengths to meet the requests of the 9/11 Commission and provided the Commission with a wealth of information," said Mark Mansfield, the CIA’s chief spokesman. "The 9/11 Commission certainly had access to, and drew from, detailed information that had been provided by terrorist detainees. That's how they reconstructed the plot in their comprehensive report."

The former official said that senior intelligence staff feared that if the agency permitted the commission to send staffers to the CIA’s secret prisons to talk with the operatives, the locations of the prisons wouldn’t be secret for very long.

Zelikow agreed that the Commission specifically asked for the new round after reviewing the agency’s first interrogation reports. "That is correct," he said of the rationale for the new round of interrogations. "That was one of the ways they sought to deal with our concerns. They (the first round) had value but were not satisfactory."

"They were looking prospectively in their questioning…looking at current threats. We were looking retrospectively. So we needed the follow-up questions."

The NBC News analysis shows that there were 30 separate interrogation sessions in early 2004 when the second round of questioning began. Based on the number of references attributed to each of the sessions, they appear to have been lengthy.

So why did the Commission ultimately rely so heavily on the interrogations even though some believed there was a possibility of mistreatment?

"Ultimately, we chose to publicly release our understanding of what took place, based on everything we had access to," said Zelikow, adding that the Commission did explain its feelings in a largely ignored explanatory box in the report on the value of the interrogations.

According to the note: "Our access to them (the operatives) has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked."

Ratner argues "if they suspected there was torture, they should have realized that as a matter of law, evidence derived from torture is not reliable, in part because of the possibility of false confession…at the very least, they should have added caveats to all those references."

Fourteen of the highest-value detainees had their initial hearings this spring before the Pentagon’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal. The tribunal acts as sort of a grand jury, charged with determining if a detainee should be held over for trial.

Four of them said they gave information only to stop the torture. Although details were redacted in all the detainees’ testimony, the tribunal permitted the inclusion of a letter from a detainee’s father in one case, citing what he claimed was American torture of his son.

In the letter placed in the record, Ali Khan claims his son, Majid, underwent extensive torture before and after interrogation sessions.

"The Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands feet and mind went numb. They retied him in a chair every hour, tightening the bonds on his hands and feet each time so that it was more painful. He was often hooded and had difficulty breathing. They also beat him repeatedly, slapping him in the face, and deprived him of sleep.

"When he was not being interrogated, the Americans put Majid in a small cell that was totally dark and too small for him to lie down in or sit in with legs stretched out. He had to crouch. The room was also infested with mosquitoes. This torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he wasn’t even allowed to read. But then it continued when Majid was unable to identify certain streets and neighborhoods in Karachi that he did not know."

Khan, a Pakistani citizen who formerly resided in Maryland, is accused of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in both Pakistan and the United States and helping al Qaeda operatives enter the United States.

Ironically, two former commission staffers noted that the Commission Final Report essentially recommends that the US encourage an end to torture.

They pointed specifically to a Commission recommendation: "The US government must define what the message is, what it stands for. We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors."

Robert Windrem is an NBC News Producer. Victor Limjoco is an associate producer for NBC Nightly News Online. NBC News intern Ching-Yi Chang also contributed to this report.


At this very moment I listen to Senator Kennedy rant about 'waterboarding' and other 'administration' unlawful acts...  blah blah blah
How shameful it is to be an American.  How much lower will we stoop?  And to think that many who support our imperialism claim to be "Christian" and "pro-life!"
The Pentagon’s approach to psychological operations (psy-ops) appears to have derived from the theories of former State Dept official, Philip Zelikow (who also served on the 9-11 Commission) Zelikow is an expert on “the creation and maintenance of ‘public myths’ or ‘public presumptions’. His theory analyzes how consciousness is shaped by “searing events” which take on “transcendent importance” and, therefore, move the public in the direction chosen by the policymakers.
I honestly don't understand the furor over the CIA using 'waterboarding' to get information from terrorists. If these were innocent people, then I'd agree their tactics were uncalled for - but these were people directly involed in murdering thousands of Americans on 9/11. Personally, I feel that if the interrogations were 'over the top', yet more innocent lives were saved as a result, then so be it.
I beleive that any agent of the government should be allowed to do WHATEVER it takes to protect the US citezens. No other country tries to play by the silly rules that we do. This is what makes this country weak and getting weaker!
It seems the 9/11 Commission report might as well be waste paper. How much credibility should we give information derived by torture? Such evidence is not acceptable in a court of law. A mission as important as that of the 9/11 Commission should not have relied on such "evidence".
Deep Background is NBC News’ investigative blog. It covers national security, terrorism, spies, Iraq, and politics, as well as government waste, fraud and abuse

---Why would you put secrets like these on the internet, where any terrorist or psychotic person can read.. Real smart..

Doesnt this put people in danger?
It seems as though the US wants the best of all worlds.  Let me put it in my words, If you want to know information then let the intell agencies do what thay do the best and DO NOT ASK HOW the information was retrived.  We demand that the intell agencies get the information and then we balk at how it was gotten.  If you do not like the ways of Intell Operations then disband them and see just how far the US or any goverment will last.  Remember Intell information is retrived from a lot of sources and if it requires extreme measures then so be it and let the Itell agencies operate in the dark where they belong. Or drop the agencies and act on nothing letting the goverment have no advance warnings or advantage over anything.  Remember Intell is not a nice game and the nice players lose inthis game
The Commission should know if you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.
Interesting that only now is the real information behind the 9/11 incident happening. If people keep finding more things wrong with the obviously falsified 9/11 Report, then they will begin to really question the legitimacy of America's war.
Old news. Peace is hard to keep. Wars are inevitable, always have been. Queensberry rules don't always work. Society determines what is acceptable and what is not. Our society has brought this out into the open. Those that don't understand, first hand, the horror of war will take one side. Those that can afford to be idealists can take the other side. Somehow, the middle ground tends to prevail. Do the needs of the many outway the needs of the few? You decide
this artical clearly points out that the current administration condones treatment of prisoners in "extremely forceful manner"but don't call it torture.Duplicity reigns.Don't ask and we won't tell.
Hmmm.  The U.S. is supposed to treat battlefield combatants and domestic, non-citizen, fifth-column America haiters with love and respect.
As of 9-11, we have been at war with a faceless enemy, without uniforms or national identity, whose only wish is to kill Americans any way possible, without consideration of age, sex or military/civilian status.
We are in a struggle with an enemy that abides by no rules and gives no quarter.  An enemy that executes their prisoners by sawwing their heads off with a knife.  An enemy that is willing to kill, indiscriminately hundreds or thousands of whoever their enemy of the moment is, just to send a "message".
The methods of obtaining information from these people currently under our control seems very mild indeed.  If out-and=out torture is required to make a prisoner divulge information that will prevent our country from being attacked or our soldiers, (and civilian citizens), from being harmed, BRING OUT THE RACK!
I find it a bit ironic that in the middle of our love fest, we forget the rapes, beheadings, killing of women and children and the many other barbaric activities that these types of individuals participate in.  Imagine what your perspective might be if you had members of your family on the top floors of the twin towers during 9/11, or perhaps having your daughter sit in a car with a male friend on a quiet street in Saudi Arabia.    I wonder how you might feel about having your sister, mother or girlfriend be the recipient of an honor killing by their own father or husband.   I wonder how you might feel about these tactics if your son or daughter were captured and believed to still be alive.

One can only feel empowered to sit in your arm chair in the safety of your own home and still be able to question the very tactics that enable you to do so.   I do not like war, I do not like torture, but I do support freedom and I respect the fact that it doesn’t come for free.  Love alone will not enable us to enjoy what much of the Middle East as well as some other countries despise about the US - Freedom.
While I agree with the point that torture can produce false evidence, I would also suggest that we lean towards common sense.  For example, in all the press coverage of detainees' "rights" and the insistance on humane treatment, we seem to forget the horror and absolute savagery of 9/11.  We forget over 4,000 innocent people slaughtered for no good reason. We also forget that the compatriots of these detainees behead people--after they torture them.  I think that, despite the press coverage of detainees conditons and treatment, the average American knows we are dealing with people whose belief it is that to kill "infidels" gains them instant access to heaven and 72 virgins... Murder is their creed; why do we worry so for their comfort and good treatment.  Their stated goal is to destroy every one of us. Who can forget Bin Laden promising to do just that?  There is no shred of humanity, no decency or fair play.  I would not be in a hurry to plead their cause;  only be concerned that they lied and that tainted the 9/11 Commission's report. If we do not have the whole truth, that is in keeping with the entire war in Iraq.  We were lied to then and it has cost us 4,000 American lives and counting. No one doubts who the masterminds of 9/11 were. If this report is inaccurate, I submit that "for reasons of national security" it would have been inaccurate and tainted in any case.
Bush and Cheney are war criminals.
maybe the c.i.a. should have just said pretty please when they are interviewing the suspects about what information they have concerning 9/11 attacks.
After WW II and its horrors I'm amazed that the USA and CIA can still get away with torture and political "cleansings". Nuremburg held people accountable for their actions -- but now it seems as if that's only if you loose. War crimes committed by Bush, Cheney and Tenet et al are made to appear as acts of virtue. A really sad state of affairs.
The terrorist's aim was to destroy America.  Nothing is more "America" than our values, belief in equal justice and belief in the rights of the individual.  Cheney and Bush recommended the dirty work (torture) to the benfit of the terrorists.
That is when the terrorists won.  Up until then, they didn't stand a chance.
How concerned are the reporters about the "method" of death of the 9/11 victims? A detailed report on that may clear up their misgivings.
a nation ignores the rule of law and tosses honor the winds of diaster.have we come to this?
I am sorry, but in a time and place where the enemy would gladly kill many innocent people because of their religion or their nationality I say we torture them! Get every ounce of information out of them, if they don't want to be tortured then tell them to open a store somewhere and start a normal life.
Give me a break, my fraternity hazing was worse than what was described in the article. Remember these people (terrorists) are encouraged to lie to the infidels. It seems the American public seems to agree with me. Everytime the media tries to throw this boo-hoo sympathy on us, it is met with ho-hum, whatever, nice try.
This article is very troubling.  The adage "Garbage In, Garbage, Out" is very true and in this situation, very troubling.  At least in this area of the Commissions report, How can we believe the accuracy of the report.  Additionally, it is natural to now question what other sources of information were compromised by the lack of access to the source.
Why does NBC go to such lengths to discredit our techniques in interrogation of terrorist.  Al Qaida uses a simple method,  cutting off heads.  So NBC keep you left wing liberal views to yourself. I'm sure this will get deleted.
Is this suppossed to tell us something we did not already know? The US uses torture to obtain information, those who make use of the information know perfectly well it is obtained by torture, americans know that is how the information was obtained.. everyone turns a blind eye. yet if the process were reversed, and american were similarly tortured, it would call for another 'bomb the barbarians back into the dark ages!' campaign of moral indignation.  
The whole international community is quickly growing very tired of American cruelty,duplicity, and corruption on all levels.
Mental and physical abuses and deprivations have been, and always will be, used to garner information from those unwilling to divulge the information they have. However deplorable or upsetting it seems to some people, these methodologies are effective. Our local law enforcement uses more tame methods, but the use exists. Too hot...too cold...too tired...uncomfortable...hounded...followed...these are all means to an end. If I have a secret that I don't wish to share, and if you give me three hots and a cot, call me sir, treat me with utter respect, make me as comfortable as is possible, and cater to my whims, you will never gain access to the knowledge you are trying to access. Interrogation techniques are not pretty, civil, or humane; they are effective tools for the most part. Only when they pass into the very pssible fear of death does the garnered information degrade.
These people don't care who you are. Man, Woman, Child or A BABY. They will kill any and all if you are not one of them. Well, sometimes and often they have killed their own kind. They have no remorse for killing anyone. I say do whatever it takes to get the information that is needed to stop the attacks. Even if you have to neuter them.
ahhh isn't it too bad he had tob be in a cell infested with mosquitos what about our prisioners who were beheded??? I have no meercey for any of these folks.
So basically, the 9/11 report relied on uncorroborated reports of alleged statements made under torture.  They had no access to the persons who puportedly made the statements, nor those who claim to have obtained them.  It is a meaningless document and it cannot be relied on.
Anything they do to Muslim terrorists who plan to attack the U.S. is justified.
Welcome to a world that does not play fair.
Not everybody loves the USA, in fact this group of people wants to destroy the USA and enslave or kill all the non-Muslim people carrying American passports.
If it is the human dignity and "rights" of an Al-QAEDA TERRORIST who wants to end my way of life and my freedoms and way of life then will recommend the Al-Qaeda subject dies for his crazy cause, since he does not think  he has anything to live for anyway except "Jihad".
The writers are incredibly naive to think Al-Qaeda would treat our prisoners with dignity. Think we have seen that with the televised beheadings in Iraq and torture chambers of Iraqis in Fallujah, and the numerous other torture chambers places used by Al-Qaeda that our troops have found in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. But in your liberal leanings your article blithly ignores that doesn't it?
Have any of you liberals written an article surveying the blood stained walls and floors of an Iraqi torture chamber used by Al-Qaeda? No. Have not seen one article in 5 years. Would like to ask why not?
There US Marines found a couple of torture chambers of horror in Fallujah 3 years ago. So far not one word much less an article from the NBC press.    
Questions NBC press should be asking:
Was the information timely in our operations against the Al-Qaeda?
Was the information reliable?
Did it aid in destroying or neutralizing Al-Qaeda?
Wake up! We are at war with a group of religious fanatics who want to destroy our way of life and enslave our non-Muslim population. To them revenge in a decade may draw criticism of being too hasty. this is why we must not ever drop our guard.
Last question to Mr Windrem, Limjoco, and Chang: are you pro-radical Muslims?
Your article sounds like it was written in Cairo around a Cairo University with radical Islamist helping you.

Well, I for one, CERTAINLY wouldn't want to hurt ANYONE who took part in planning the deaths of 3000 Americans.  

As an infidel, and part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, I simply as myself.."What would King David do?"  Do you think he might lop off a few heads, fingers, hands, arms, until he got the info he needed?  That would work for me.
Torture, good question, is it a good thing or a bad thing, it's a bad thing, real bad thing, but so are the terrorist, they are really really really bad things, when you plot to terrorize you make that call on your own, TERRORISM has been going on for how long, and torture is nothing new, and torture will not stop, beleive me it will not stop, if you know someone has the information to stopping something awful, and I mean something awful, then torture him or her, yes ladies also, a terrorist is a terrorist, and if you don't have the courage or you think this is wrong then call me, beleive me it won't take but a couple minutes at the most for me to get the information we need out of them, water boarding, Ha, that's child's play, they will wish I did water board them, and when I am asked how did you get the information sooooo fast, I will say, AND I DID IT MY WAY. GOD BLESS AMERI, CIA, LOL, LOVE IT.    
When will these methods of attaining information be viewed ok? What will it take for the average American to say “do what ever it takes” Does our country have to be bombed before it’s ok? Is it ok after you or I lose our family, to people who play by different rules? How many people have to die before my fellow Americans wake up and stop standing in the way and let these brave men and women in the front lines do what it takes to win this war?  
How many lessons do us as Americans need before we open our eyes? I say to all of you who have problems with this, wake up before what happens in Israel everyday makes it too this fine country! “ because these animals fear nothing from us” They want our total destruction on every level, and they don’t care if you are offended by their methods!
Sickening. Disgusting. Shocking. Horrifying. Those are just some of the adjectives that come to mind regarding this administrations use of torture. Basically, Bush, Cheney, et al, are nothing more than war criminals and should be treated as such. Torture is immoral and provides little useful information, as testified to many times by our top interrogators in the military and FBI. Anyone who thinks this type of unacceptable behavior protects us and our interests is delusional. I sincerely hope that whomever is sworn in next January will instigate an investigation into these illegal, barbaric practices committed in our name, and punish all those responsible for these atrocities.

Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam and their ilk all had justifications for their crimes against humanity, too. This administration's rationalizations are no more excusable than theirs.

It seems to me that this information has already been publicized before, although some of the particulars or sources may be new. If true, it is good to have collaborating evidence. Regardless, this begs the question of how reliable is the 9/11 Commission report, since it is based on unreliable, unconfirmed sources.  
Thank God for CIA. Thank God our media is not there to protect us. When you have friends (like the Press) who needs enemies?
LMAO these terrorist dorks are lucky if waterboarding is all they get.. let me interigate them ill hang them by there scrotum and put em in a room haveing a mexican birthday party and they can use them as pinyatas
When properly corroborated, the source of the information reported by the 911 commission is irrelevant.  Reporting the unsubstantiated claims of torture by the father of a detainee is bias designed to spin the facts.  Waterboarding may seem inhumane when examining the world through the filter of the internet.  I don't agree with it's wide spread use, but if it saves a single American life (and I believe it has) then the temporary discomfort suffered by those who plot to murder us is more palatable.  Your editorialized reporting is agenda based and out of touch with reality.  
Would any of these interrogation records be admissable as evidence in a court of law?  It seems to me that these were forced confessions to say the least.  The more I research 9/11, the more I find that relevant information was and is being withheld from the public and investigators.  It's time for the people to demand full disclosure.  As long as the gov't has nothing to hide, this should not be an issue.
This is more evidence that the 9/11 Commission was incomplete in its investigation.  We still do not know the full truth about the 9/11 attacks.  Most of us know that information coerced through torture is not reliable, as experts like John McCain and others have stated.
Coupled with recent statements and op ed articles by chairman Kean and Hamilton, this article confirms the conspiracies ultimate claim: WE DO NOT KNOW THE FULL TRUTH ABOUT SEPTEMBER 11.
It's not simulated drowning. IT IS DROWNING!Please tell it straight.
How then is the US to get information from suspected terrorist operatives? Let's face it, interrogation methods are harsh. So, then, what are the alternatives?  All the critics out there, here is a chance to give input on what you believe is a better way to produce information that may save your life one day.
Nobody seems to say anything about the invaders who came to our shores on 9/11 and brought the destruction they did to Americans.  And how many times and incidents around the world have we witnessed against not only Americans, but civilians everywhere?  And we're the barbaric ones?  How else are you supposed to fight an enemy who hides behind religion?  Let the people do what they have to do to glean the information they need to protect us, short of out and out killing them.  Would the enemy show the same concerns about us?
We need to stop second guessing the people (expert we trained) from doing their job, when will we understand there are no rules in a terror war. We need to be as ruthless as they are.

MSG U.S. Army (Ret)
I see no reason to end the CIA's form of torture. At least we are not beheading our prisoners and filming it for the world to see.
What a horrible way to die - what horror for Americans to see their loved one(s) have their heads cut off!!!
Define Torture:

Al Qaieda Prisoners: Extremely uncomfortable positions, stress, and sleeping arrangements.

US Forces in Afghanistan/Iraq: Extremely uncomfortable conditions, stress, and sleeping arrangements.

US Military Prisoners: Beheading, beatings, their privates cut off and stuck in their mouths and their bodies displayed.

It seems strange to me to want to protect the rights of those who hate and want to destroy you, while at the same time they want the rights that they are not willing to give to others applied to them? The liberal media seem to want to paint us as the terrorists, but if 9/11 is truly remembered, it was women, children, and non-combatants who were attacked without warning. In my mind, I would let them worship Allah and let God judge in the end if they were worthy.  I don't think the extremists want to allow us that same freedom.  The choice of this faction of fanaticism is "convert or die".
Our CIA does what it needs to get the job done.

What do you think other countries resort to when they need inforamtion?  Their methods are far more crude and direct than our CIA, but this is a problem magnified out of proportion by the media.

Do not seek to undermine our CIA which is ultimately your goal.  The media is not policed whatsoever, but you wish to impose your own view of accountability upon them which is Gestapo-like in nature, i.e, Guilty on all counts, always.

Were it not for the CIA we would be in more dire straits than we are presently.  I find it detestable that some of the media like to second guess law enforcement techiques from the comfort and safety of their homes and offices.  War is never pleasant, but a very ripe topic of attack against those who engage war.  There are no answers to satisfy those questions asked of CIA, generals and admirals by the media or people totally opposed to violence....you KNOW that as well as do I.  We will alwys have some form of war on earth though hoping and working toward peace should be pursued.  Keep in mind that "total war" or "total peace" are extremes and are not to be expected.

I agree that some who live should die and some who die ought to live, but, can you give them life?  No.  Then do not be too quick to deal out a form of death to the CIA, in the name of justice fearing for your own safety or concluding that this agency has become a rogue.  Even the very wisest among us cannot see all ends.

To quote Mr. Spock in "The Wrath of Khan":  'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.'

Very Truly Yours,

Paul V. Battaglia

I am surprised that comments have yet to be posted concerning this most difficult subject matter.  I expected quite a few, However, one has to suspect that perhaps many individuals may not want to comment out of fear.  This is a very touchy subject and the information was delivered very well in this article.  

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Deep Background is NBC News’ investigative blog. It covers national security, terrorism, spies, Iraq, and politics, as well as government waste, fraud and abuse.

It is edited by NBC News Senior Investigative Producer Jim Popkin.


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