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Zubaydah's Torture, Detention Subject of Senate Intelligence Inquiry

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As Truthout previously reported, intelligence sources said Zubaydah was sleep deprived for more than two weeks. Contractors hired by the CIA studied how he responded psychologically and physically to being kept awake for that amount of time. By looking at videotapes, they concluded that after the 11th consecutive day of being kept awake Zubaydah started to "severely break down." So, the August 2002 torture memo concluded that 11 days of sleep deprivation was legal and did not meet the definition of torture.

The videotapes of Zubaydah's interrogation sessions were destroyed against the advice of Bush administration and senior CIA officials, according to the documents, and are now the subject of a criminal inquiry lead by Special Prosecutor John Durham.

But five intelligence sources said in interviews conducted over the past month that they were aware of a second taping system that was set up at the black site prison in Thaliand--possibly one they said that was installed by an outside contractor--which captured Zubaydah's torture sessions that were stored on computers and separate hard drives.

These sources noted that a similar taping system was also set up at other black site prison facilities and at a secret site at Guantanamo about a year later where interrogations of other high-value prisoners were also recorded.

A CIA spokesman did not return calls for comment about the veracity of the claims that another taping system existed at the time Zubaydah was tortured.

However, the documents released by the CIA Friday, requested "instructions" from agency officials about the "disposition of hard drives and magnetic media" related to the torture sessions.

It was through this second taping system, the intelligence sources allege, that CIA interrogators collected "data" about Zubaydah, specifically, how much mental and physical pain he could endure after each torture session he was subjected to that took place prior to the issuance of OLC legal memos in August 2002.

The data collected from Zubaydah's torture and the torture of other high-value detainees, these sources asserted, was used to not only assist OLC attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee write an August 2002 torture memo, but was also used by former OLC head Steven Bradbury to assist him in writing a separate 2005 "combined techniques" torture memo.

A former National Security official previously told Truthout that Zubaydah "was an experiment. A guinea pig."

On Friday, the former official said it became clear to some of the interrogators in Thailand that by June 2002, Zubaydah was not the high-value detainee the Bush administration held him out to be.

CIA contractors, however, pressed officials at the agency's headquarters in Langley to allow them to continue subjecting Zubaydah to torture, the former NSC official claimed, because of the valuable information contractors had gained about specific interrogation techniques.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
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