EVEN ALLOWED TO READ!
A special report from NBC news states:
Indeed, as legal experts have pointed out, and 9/11 Commission Director Zelikow tacitly acknowledges, evidence based on torture is not reliable. As the NBC news report states:
The NBC News analysis shows that more than one quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al-Qaida operatives who were subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations is central to the Report's most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks. The analysis also shows - and agency and commission staffers concur - there was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, done specifically to answer new questions from the Commission.
9/11 Commission staffers say they "guessed" but did not know for certain that harsh techniques had been used, and they were concerned that the techniques had affected the operatives' credibility. At least four of the operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being "tortured." The claims came during their hearings last spring at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...Fourteen of the highest-value detainees had their initial hearings this spring before the Pentagon's Combatant Status Review Tribunal. The tribunal acts as sort of a grand jury, charged with determining if a detainee should be held over for trial.
Four of them said they gave information only to stop the torture. Although details were redacted in all the detainees' testimony, the tribunal permitted the inclusion of a letter from a detainee's father in one case, citing what he claimed was American torture of his son.
This torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he wasn't even allowed to read.
"We were not aware, but we guessed, that things like that were going on," Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission executive director, told NBC News. "We were wary...we tried to find different sources to enhance our credibility."
Specifically, the NBC News analysis shows 441 of the more than 1,700 footnotes in the Commission's Final Report refer to the CIA interrogations. Moreover, most of the information in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Report came from the interrogations. Those chapters cover the initial planning for the attack, the assembling of terrorist cells, and the arrival of the hijackers in the U.S. In total, the Commission relied on more than 100 interrogation reports produced by the CIA. The second round of interrogations sought by the Commission involved more than 30 separate interrogation sessions.
No one disputes that the interrogations were critical to the Commission's understanding of the plot.,,Zelikow said the lack of direct access forced the Commission to seek secondary sources and to request the new round of questioning. In the end, says Zelikow, the Commission relied heavily on the information derived from the interrogations, but remained skeptical of it. Zelikow admits that "quite a bit, if not most" of its information on the 9/11 conspiracy "did come from the interrogations."
"We didn't have blind faith," Zelikow tells NBC News. "We therefore had skepticism. The problems (in getting cooperation from the agency) enforced our concerns about the underlying interrogation.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official says the Commission never expressed any concerns about techniques and even pushed for the new round...
Commission staffers interviewed by NBC News do not dispute the official's assertion that they didn't ask about interrogation techniques. "We did not delve deeply into the question of the treatment of the prisoners", as one put it. "Standards of treatment were not part of our mission." According to the other, "We did not ask specifically. It was not in our mandate."...
Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, says he is "shocked" that the Commission never asked about extreme interrogation measures.
"If you're sitting at the 9/11 Commission, with all the high-powered lawyers on the Commission and on the staff, first you ask what happened rather than guess," said Ratner, whose center represents detainees at Guantanamo. "Most people look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a trusted historical document. If their conclusions were supported by information gained from torture, therefore their conclusions are suspect."...
Zelikow adds that one particularly telling position was the agency's refusal to let the Commission interview the interrogators.
"We needed more information to judge reports we were reading," he said. "We needed information about demeanor of the detainees. We needed more information on the content, context, character of the interrogations."...