While much is being made of the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting the use of waterboarding during the interrogation of terrorists, the technique has actually been little used as a means of extracting information.
Only three terrorists have been subjected to waterboarding, and the technique has not been employed since 2003.
Furthermore, waterboarding should not be considered torture, as some are claiming. Torture is normally defined as the infliction of severe pain, and while waterboarding induces fear because it simulates drowning, it does not inflict pain.
In fact, U.S. special forces are subjected to waterboarding as part of their training in case they are captured and experience the procedure.
Waterboarding was used only when the CIA believed a second wave of terrorist attacks was imminent. But once the media began disclosing that the CIA was using the technique, it became useless, because if terrorists know they will be subjected to fake “drowning,” they will not respond to it.
And when it comes to outright torture, the CIA does not believe it produces reliable results and has never used it, reports Ronald Kessler, chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com.
The three terrorists who were subjected too waterboarding are Abu Zubaydah, Osama bin Laden’s chief of operations; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole; and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
In these cases waterboarding and other coercive techniques, such as forcing prisoners to stand for hours, succeeded in extracting intelligence that led to the capture of key al-Qaida operative planning terrorist attack against Americans.
Despite the media’s focus on waterboarding, it is in reality a “non issue,” said Kessler, author of the book “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack.”
“It hasn’t been used since 2003 and won’t be used again. The media is using it as an excuse to bash the president.
“Waterboarding was employed on only three terrorists who were not cooperating, and the information they ultimately provided helped stave off attacks that could have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.”
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