The Corner

The one and only.

CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding


The Left will pounce all over this story in Foreign Policy: “CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding.” It reports that “John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who affirmed claims that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists, says he didn’t know what he was talking about.” In his memoir, Kirakou admits that he was not in the room during the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, who he claimed broke after one application of water and produced vital intelligence. His resistance was, in fact, much greater than that.

As always, the Left will attempt to distort this as proof to back their specious claim that no valuable information came from Zubaydah and other terrorists. But the evidence that the CIA program was effective is not dependent on Kirakou’s testimony.  

I have spoken to the people who — unlike Kirakou — were in the room for the interrogations of Zubaydah, KSM and other terrorists held by the CIA. And in Courting Disaster, I meticulousluy document the evidence for the efficacy of the CIA interrogation program — based not on Kirakou’s claims, but on the testimony of the actual interrogators, interivews with top CIA and other intelligence officials, the evidence presented in the CIA inspector general’s report, and other top-secret documents declassified by the Obama administration. I urge you to read it and judge for yourself. The evidence is overwhelming.

Before these documents were released, there was room for debate on the efficacy of CIA interrogations — because the facts had not been declassified. No longer. Yet the critics will continue to attempt to muddy the waters and use Kirakopu as “proof” of their claim the interrogations did not work. They will do so because if they admit that the interrogations worked, that means that the consequence of their position would have been another 9/11. They have to argue that a) enhanced interrogation is wrong and b) it did not work, because if the latter is not true then the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children would have been the price of their approach.