And here is Barton Gellman's gloss of Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine:As Digby reminds us this should come as no surprise since the resident of the White House has a history of being one sick SOB.Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be....Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics.So here's what the tapes would have shown: not just that we had brutally tortured an al-Qaeda operative, but that we had brutally tortured an al-Qaeda operative who was (a) unimportant and low-ranking, (b) mentally unstable, (c) had no useful information, and (d) eventually spewed out an endless series of worthless, fantastical "confessions" under duress. This was all prompted by the president of the United States, implemented by the director of the CIA, and the end result was thousands of wasted man hours by intelligence and and law enforcement personnel.
Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?"
Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each...target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
But there are times, when a candidates says something so revealing that the hair on the back of your neck stands up. This was one of those times:I worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency in the late 60s and early 70s and attended the DIA interrogation school. The first thing they taught us is that torture doesn't work. When you torture people they don't tell you the truth they tell you what they think you want to hear. Does that explain this administration's fascination with torture? I think so. They have demonstrated over and over that they have no interest in the truth and only want to hear what they want to hear. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Foreign policy of the US is being formulated by rage filled psychopaths who are so good at using the weapon of fear that they got the country to go along with their madness.While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.Why should anyone be surprised that that man would demand that a mentally ill prisoner with a broken leg be denied pain medication and tortured?
Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.
'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
I must look shocked -- ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush -- because he immediately stops smirking.
'It's tough stuff,' Bush says, suddenly somber, 'but my job is to enforce the law.'
The idea that he didn't know about these torture session is ludicrous. It was one of the perks.