LA Times forwards Cheney's EIT misinformation

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

The Los Angeles Times reported Dick Cheney's claim that " 'enhanced interrogation techniques' [EIT] saved American lives and prevented terrorist attacks," without noting -- as it did in a previous article -- that a recently released CIA inspector general's (IG) report stated that "the effectiveness of specific techniques 'cannot be so easily measured.' " Moreover, the Times did not note that Cheney's statement is inconsistent with one he previously gave about the CIA documents, nor did it note that one detainee subjected to EITs, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has reportedly stated that he gave false information to the CIA during the "harshest period" of his interrogation.

Article left unchallenged Cheney's claim "that 'enhanced interrogation techniques' saved American lives and prevented terrorist attacks"

From the August 31 Los Angeles Times article:

In his Fox interview, Cheney also said, as he has before, that the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation techniques" saved American lives and prevented terrorist attacks. The techniques included waterboarding, which simulates drowning. It was used repeatedly on three top Al Qaeda leaders, including 183 times on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the avowed ringleader of 9/11.

Cheney said the Obama administration's second-guessing of the Bush administration "offends the hell out of me, frankly."

[...]

Cheney said he did not believe that certain interrogators working for the CIA should face criminal charges even for excessive use of waterboarding, or for having threatened some detainees with mock executions, a gun and an electric drill.

Those incidents were disclosed in a 2004 CIA inspector general's report that was partly declassified last week, prompting some critics to say that the actions clearly violated U.S. law.

IG report: "The effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured." From the "conclusions" section of the 2004 CIA IG report on "Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities":

The Agency's detention and interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world. The CTC Detention and Interrogation Program has resulted in the issuance of thousands of individual intelligence reports and analytic products supporting the counterterrorism efforts of U.S. policymakers and military commanders. The effectiveness of particular interrogation techniques in eliciting information that might not otherwise have been obtained cannot be so easily measured.

Los Angeles Times previously reported that CIA documents offer "little to support the argument that harsh or abusive methods played a key role." The Los Angeles Times reported in an August 26 article that the CIA documents "are at best inconclusive" as to the EITs effectiveness and offer "little to support the argument that harsh or abusive methods played a key role." The article further noted that the CIA IG "report says, the effectiveness of specific techniques 'cannot be so easily measured.' "

Article falsely suggested Cheney has consistently said EITs "saved American lives and prevented terrorist attacks"

From the August 31 Times article:

In his Fox interview, Cheney also said, as he has before, that the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation techniques" saved American lives and prevented terrorist attacks. The techniques included waterboarding, which simulates drowning. It was used repeatedly on three top Al Qaeda leaders, including 183 times on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the avowed ringleader of 9/11.

Cheney on August 24: Detainees "subjected" to EITs "provided ... intelligence" that "saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks." In response to the release of CIA documents assessing the CIA's interrogation program, Cheney said in a statement: "The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002." [Cheney statement to The Weekly Standard, 8/24/09]

Sargent: Cheney is "not saying that the docs proved torture was responsible for producing that info." Washington Post Co. blogger Greg Sargent noted the following in response to Cheney's August 24 statement:

Cheney is not claiming a causal relationship between torture and the intelligence gleaned from interrogations. Rather, he's saying that the same individuals who were tortured also happened to yield the most important evidence about Al Qaeda. He's not saying that the docs proved torture was responsible for producing that info.

There's a reason Cheney worded his statement this carefully: The documents don't prove torture worked, as he claimed. Don't believe me? Go to paragraph 11 of this New York Times article, which says the same. [Sargent, The Plum Line, 8/25/09]

Cheney on August 30: EITs "crucial" in saving "thousands of lives and let[ting] us defeat all further attacks against the United States." Instead of claiming simply that the "individuals subjected" to EITs "provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda," on August 30, Cheney said that it was the EITs that were "crucial" in obtaining information from detainees. From his August 30 Fox News Sunday interview from which the Los Angeles Times cites extensively in its September 1 article:

CHENEY: But the interesting thing about these [CIA documents] is it shows that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah provided the overwhelming majority of reports on Al Qaeda. That they were, as it says, pivotal in the war against Al Qaeda. That both of them were uncooperative at first, that the application of enhanced interrogation techniques, specifically waterboarding, especially in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is what really persuaded him. He needed to cooperate.

I think the evidence is overwhelming that the EITs were crucial in getting them to cooperate, and that the information they provided did in fact save thousands of lives and let us defeat all further attacks against the United States.

Article ignores that Mohammed reportedly said he gave "false information" during "harshest" interrogations

Washington Post: Mohammed said he "gave a lot of false information ... in order to make the ill-treatment stop." From an August 29 Washington Post article:

Mohammed, in statements to the International Committee of the Red Cross, said some of the information he provided was untrue.

"During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I'm sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time," he said.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Intelligence
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times
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