The Corner

Wash. Independent: CIA’s KSM Docs

The Washington Independent has posted another CIA report from 2004 entitled “Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al-Qa’Ida.” These are the “two CIA documents that former Vice President Dick Cheney claims justify his longstanding arguments that torture was an effective interrogation and counterterrorism tool,” writes WI editor Spencer Ackerman. Here are excerpts from the documents:

Key findings:

– Since his March 2003 capture, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KSM), the driving force behind the 11 September attacks as well as several subsequent plots against the US and Western targets worldwide, has become one of the US Government’s key sources on Al-Qa’ida. As a detainee, he has provided [redacted] reports that have shed light on Al-Qa’ida’s strategic doctrine, plots and probable targets, key operatives, and the likely methods for attacks in the US homeland, leading to the disruption of several plots against the United States.

– Information from KSM has not only dramatically expanded our universe of knowledge on Al-Qa’ida’s plots but has provided leads that assisted directly in the capture of other terrorists, including Jemaah Islamiya, leader Hambali [redacted] KSM steadfastly maintains his overriding priority was to strike the United States but says that immediately after 11 September he realized that a follow-on attack in the United States would be difficult because of new security measures. As a result, KSM’s plots against the US homeland from late 2001 were opportunistic and limited, including a plot to fly a hijacked plane into the tallest building on the US West Coast and a plan to send Al-Qa’ida operative and US citizen Jose Padilla to set off bombs in high-rise apartment buildings in a US city.

– CIA assesses that KSM has revealed at least the broad outlines of the set of terrorist attacks upon which he and his lieutenants focused from about 1999 until his detention four years later. We judge that KSM has been generally accurate because his information tends to be consistent, and much of it has been corroborated by fellow detainees and other reporting.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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