Wash. Post's Thiessen justifies CIA interrogation tactics with falsehood

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

In his new book, recently-hired Washington Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen justifies the CIA's interrogation techniques by falsely claiming: "In the eight years since the CIA began interrogating captured terrorists, al Qaeda has not succeeded in launching one single attack on the homeland or American interests abroad." In fact, Al Qaeda has repeatedly attacked U.S. interests abroad, including a U.S. consulate, a U.S. embassy, and a Marriot hotel.

Thiessen falsely claims no attacks against U.S. interests abroad since CIA interrogations began

From Thiessen's book: Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack:

Here is statistical data that is indisputable: In the decade before the CIA began interrogating captured terrorists, al Qaeda launched repeated attacks against America: the first World Trade Center bombing, the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole, and ultimately the attacks of September 11, 2001. In the eight years since the CIA began interrogating captured terrorists, al Qaeda has not succeeded in launching one single attack on the homeland or American interests abroad. [Page 102]

Al Qaeda has attacked U.S. embassy, consulate, other interests

Al Qaeda blamed for attack on U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. According to the BBC, in 2004, gunmen "used explosives to break through the fortified entrance" to the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and killed "five non-U.S. staff" of the consulate. CNN reported that "[a] Saudi group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility" for the attack and that a "U.S. State Department official told CNN that al Qaeda was suspected in the attack."

Al Qaeda blamed for attack on U.S. embassy in Yemen. From a September 18, 2008, Washington Post article:

Attackers used vehicle bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons to mount a coordinated assault on the U.S. Embassy here Wednesday, leaving 10 guards and civilians dead outside the main gate but failing to breach the walled compound. No Americans were killed.

Yemeni officials and experts on al-Qaeda said an aggressive new generation of the group's leaders in Yemen was responsible for the assault, the deadliest attack on a U.S. target in this country since the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.


"The attack on the U.S. Embassy was retaliation by al-Qaeda for the measures taken by the government to fight the terrorists," said Foreign Minister Abou Bakr al-Qurbi, according to a statement.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington that the multiphased attack bore "all the hallmarks" of al-Qaeda.

Al Qaeda blamed for attack on Westerners' housing compounds in Riyadh. The U.S. State Department's "Significant Terrorist Incidents 1961-2003: A Brief Chronology" states:

Truck Bomb Attacks in Saudi Arabia, May 12, 2003: Suicide bombers attacked three residential compounds for foreign workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 34 dead included 9 attackers, 7 other Saudis, 9 U.S. citizens, and one citizen each from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Philippines. Another American died on June 1. It was the first major attack on U.S. targets in Saudi Arabia since the end of the war in Iraq. Saudi authorities arrested 11 al-Qaida suspects on May 28.

Al Qaeda affiliate struck Marriott hotel in Jakarta. The USA Today reported that then-undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Stuart Levey said that a May 2003 attack on a Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, was "financed by smuggling $30,000 in cash for each attack from al-Qaeda to allied terrorists in Asia." Discussing the bombing in Jakarta and other attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney also tied the attack by Jemaah Islamiyah to Al Qaeda:

In one sense from Bali and Jakarta on one end, to Madrid on the other. They've had attacks across that spectra of geography in the last couple of years. It is a group -- while the al Qaeda is at the center, al Qaeda in Arabic means "the base," and it's a -- there's a loose affiliation. It's not a rigid hierarchy.

You'll find for example, in various locations around the world there will be organizations like -- say in, Indonesia, the Jemaah Islamiyah, JI it's called for short. They've been responsible for the attacks on Bali that killed a couple of hundred Australians here at a tourist area a couple of years ago, blowing up the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Most recently they set off a truck bomb outside the Australian Embassy. JI is a branch of an extremist view of Islam that's sort of home-grown. They've got their own local issues they're concerned about, but they now have a relationship with al Qaeda. A senior guy in Indonesia named Hambali went to the training camps in Afghanistan that they ran back in the '90s, subsequently received funding from al Qaeda, went back then to Indonesia, and was behind some of the major attacks there. So you've got this sort of home-grown, but nonetheless affiliated, extremist operation going now in Indonesia. You'll find the same thing if you go to Morocco, where they had the attack in Casablanca; in Turkey, Istanbul, and so forth.

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