You know how the guy with the nickname "Curveball" was the basis for the U.S. claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?
You know how relying on non-credible sources can get you in trouble?
Well, an article today in the Washington Post quotes "FBI officials, including agents who questioned [alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind Abu Zubaida] after his capture or reviewed documents seized from his home" as concluding that he was:
[L]argely a loudmouthed and mentally troubled hotelier whose credibility dropped as the CIA subjected him to a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding and to other "enhanced interrogation" measures.For example:
even though he knew some al-Qaeda players, he provided interrogators with increasingly dubious information as the CIA's harsh treatment intensified in late 2002."
Retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman, who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida's capture in early 2002 and worked on the case, said the CIA's harsh tactics cast doubt on the credibility of Abu Zubaida's information.
"I don't have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted," Coleman said, referring to the harsh measures. "He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn't believe him. The problem is they didn't realize he didn't know all that much."- Advertisement -
"They said, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " said Coleman, recalling accounts from FBI employees who were there. " 'This guy's a Muslim. That's not going to win his confidence. Are you trying to get information out of him or just belittle him?'" Coleman helped lead the bureau's efforts against Osama bin Laden for a decade, ending in 2004.
Coleman goes on to say:
Abu Zubaida ... was a "safehouse keeper" with mental problems who claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did.
Looking at other evidence, including a serious head injury that Abu Zubaida had suffered years earlier, Coleman and others at the FBI believed that he had severe mental problems that called his credibility into question. "They all knew he was crazy, and they knew he was always on the damn phone," Coleman said, referring to al-Qaeda operatives. "You think they're going to tell him anything?"
The article also says that Abu Zubaida might have been tortured for months.
So let's see if we can put this altogether. According to the FBI, the information which l argely formed the basis for the 9/11 Commission Report was based on the ramblings of a literally crazy guy after he had been tortured for many, many weeks in a manner that was guaranteed to destroy his trust in his interrogators and which was contrary to effective interrogation techniques.
Disclaimer: The title to this post may be somewhat of an exaggeration, since the government also allegedly received information from other guys who were severely tortured. Maybe they weren't crazy before they were tortured. It doesn't matter though . . . torture is a notoriously inaccurate way to obtain information. Moreover, since the government destroyed the tapes, we don't really even know what they said.