ABC exclusive: Total number of Al Qaeda figures waterboarded by CIA is...


For all the debate over waterboarding, it has been used on only three al Qaeda figures, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials.

As ABC News first reported in September, waterboarding has not been used since 2003 and has been specifically prohibited since Gen. Michael Hayden took over as CIA director.

Officials told ABC News on Sept. 14 that the controversial interrogation technique, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex as shown in the above demonstration, had been banned by the CIA director at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes…

The most effective use of waterboarding, according to current and former CIA officials, was in breaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as KSM, who subsequently confessed to a number of ongoing plots against the United States.

A senior CIA official said KSM later admitted it was only because of the waterboarding that he talked.

If you’ve never seen it, watch the video of Brian Ross telling O’Reilly on the Factor last year how useful some of the information obtained after waterboarding Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was. There are two articles of religious faith among opponents of the practice: (1) it never works, (2) it exists on a slippery slope that leads inexorably to widespread abuse. If you believe Ross, the first point is already disproved and the second is hanging by a thread. Neither of which, incidentally, is an argument in favor of it: if the government were to randomly murder someone, the fact that it was “only” one person wouldn’t win them any sympathy. But it does go to show how much bad faith is involved in this debate.

The question is, is Ross credible? Today’s Blotter scoop says KSM was waterboarded for one and a half minutes; last year’s O’Reilly clip has Ross claiming it was two and a half. A minor detail but discrepancies should be noted. Your exit question: Who were the other two AQ who got the full ‘boarding? Ross suggests, but doesn’t explicitly say, in the video that Ramzi Binalshibh was another. Maybe this guy, too?

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