This is kind of shocking, and then again, it isn’t surprising at all:
Well, it’s official now: John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who affirmed claims that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists, says he didn’t know what he was talking about.
Kiriakou, a 15-year veteran of the agency’s intelligence analysis and operations directorates, electrified the hand-wringing national debate over torture in December 2007 when he told ABC’s Brian Ross and Richard Esposito in a much ballyhooed, exclusive interview that senior al Qaeda commando Abu Zubaydah cracked after only one application of the face cloth and water.
“From that day on, he answered every question,” Kiriakou said. “The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.”***
Now comes John Kiriakou, again, with a wholly different story. On the next-to-last page of a new memoir, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror (written with Michael Ruby), Kiriakou now rather off handedly admits that he basically made it all up.
“What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts,” he writes. “I suggested that Abu Zubaydah had lasted only thirty or thirty-five seconds during his waterboarding before he begged his interrogators to stop; after that, I said he opened up and gave the agency actionable intelligence.”
But never mind, he says now.
“I wasn’t there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I’d heard and read inside the agency at the time.”
In a word, it was hearsay, water-cooler talk.
“Now we know,” Kiriakou goes on, “that Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied.”
Indeed. But after his one-paragraph confession, Kiriakou adds that he didn’t have any first hand knowledge of anything relating to CIA torture routines, and still doesn’t. And he claims that the disinformation he helped spread was a CIA dirty trick: “In retrospect, it was a valuable lesson in how the CIA uses the fine arts of deception even among its own.”
Whoops! My bad! I was just talking out my ass!
I wonder when all-around cretin Michael Goldfarb will get around to issuing corrections at the Weekly Standard?
Zombie lies never die. Doesn’t matter if he retracted; torture still works! Don’t you watch 24, moonbats?
The news media should spend as much time covering Kiriakou’s admission that he was just making shit up as they did covering his previous lies. Oh yeah, that darn liberal media.
Right after my date with Keira Knightley.
“A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”
When the truth is about the shameful complicity of our elected officials with Cheney’s torture policy and the blind eye of our FAIL media, the truth will be strangled in its bed.
They’ll correct it on the twelth of never.
How stupid is this guy? He doesn’t know if 83 near death experiences means that the info wasn’t good?
And why did he use the phrase water cooler?
This is outstanding news for John McCain.
When you’re so totally, smugly convinced that you’re absolutely right and that furthermore it’s so damn important that your ideas of what’s right prevail that critics and opponents cannot be given any respect or quarter, AND you’re totally shameless about doing whatever it takes…
When proven wrong, you’ll simply ignore it, change the subject, and make up some other plausible claim of proof. Until that falls apart and by then you count on everyone’s attention to have moved onto something else, and so you get away with it again and again. You cannot be proven wrong this way in a way that matters, any more than a tree falling in the woods with a huge crash can be heard if there’s no one around to hear it.
This is one of those “I’m done with the Internet” things, right? what doesn’t kill him makes him stronger.
What repub will still quote Kiriakou’s statements as fact on Meet the Press and not be corrected? I vote for Liz.
How in the hell are you managing to sit up and type in your condition?
“…All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest…” Paul Simon, The Boxer
We are now being told by a straight face that the Obama administration following the Bush administration’s policy of trying suspected terrorists in Federal courts somehow, in some mysterious way, now jeopardizes national security. Lieberman, Collins, Coryn, and Kyle should all be directly asked if they will propose legislation nullfying the U.S. signature to the Torture Convention and repealing the anti-torture statutes since they now believe apparently that suspected terrorits should be tortured on principle.
Silly boy. Torture doesn’t matter. We have a Black, Leftist President who wants to “raise taxes” on banks and rich people.
Get your priorities aligned.
The Ace Tomato Company
I demand we waterboard Kiriakou to find out definitively whether or not it makes somebody talk right away. If it does, I recommend we waterboard him another 83 times to see if the information gets better. If he doesn’t crack right away, then we still need to waterboard him at least another 83 times until he does give us “better” information.
Lying is simply part of the game– and why not? It’s easy, it works, the whole media setup gives the advantage to the liar. But remember, the goal is always power, by whatever means necessary– ever and always.
My bad! I was just talking out my ass!
You know, the way everyone was during Shrub II. Didn’t you get the memo?
I vote for David Gregory.
He’s acting like he was mislead, more likely he was doing the misleading.
General Winfield Stuck
Fogetaboutit Cole, It’s Cheneytown
I vote for all of them. They don’t care if people lie! They only care it fits their narrative!
We live now in a world where lies are the coin of the realm and no one is ever held accountable. Unless they wiretap a senator’s office. And even then people are talking about giving them a slap on the wrist.
Be serious. The Weekly Standard doesn’t have the dough to print a New York phone-book size edition.
Not only will Weekly Standard not correct Kiriakou, they will still repeat as fact that torture worked.
“The Reluctant Spy?”
Jesus, that sounds like a Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour vehicle.
Our media makes the penalty for outrageous lying…nothing.
Keith G., thanks for the kind words the other day. A big back atcha, guy.
Mike in NC
Kristol’s puke funnel cannot fail, it can only be failed.
poor bastard wants our sympathy because he claims he was water-coolered by his own about water-boarding.
Erm, does a guy who’s been waterboarded eighty-odd times have, maybe, some sort of legal claim against the idiotic bastards who did it?
Never trust the CIA.
The Republic of Stupidity
It all matters where he was waterboarded… was it in Dick Cheney’s basement… or someplace inside the United States?
It would have to have happened w/in the jurisdiction of the US legal system… and if it was Cheney’s basement… the victim is prolly screwed…
The Republic of Stupidity
This whole thing about waterboarding someone EIGHTY THREE times remains me of a shooting incident (no, not Cheney’s hunting trip…) I read about several years ago.
The victim had been shot something like eleven times, at close range, and when the shooter was asked what happened, he replied, it was an accident, his finger had slipped and he didn’t mean to shoot the other guy…
@Keith G: My God! He’s practically Huey Newton!
Anybody else wonder if somewhere deep in Frank Luntz’s files there are focus group results on trying to tie Obama to Newton, abandoned with a note that the groups responded positively to the comparison, as a large number of the participants took the association to mean that Obama was, in fact, the guy playing sax on the Ghostbusters soundtrack?
Who you gonna call?
That’s on the second to last page. When you get to the last page, it makes the sad trombone sound.
No way! A guy is walking back his earlier claims? I guess this means that waterboarding’s efficacy is about as credible as global warming data!
Yeah, one in the same, “bender.”
@General Winfield Stuck: Fogetaboutit Cole, It’s Cheneytown
That was awesome!
This story makes no sense.
If you read the original ABC interview (which I know you guys won’t), Kiriakou outright said he was back in the US when the waterboarding occurred. He says “trained interrogators” did the waterboarding of Abu Z (a 9/11 financier who was captured by Kiriakou’s unit while a bomb was being built on the table and schematics for the local British school lay open), and that he heard that valuable intel was gained. The claims were never meant to be “first-hand.”
So what’s Jeff Stein’s big scoop? That he couldn’t understand the original interview? Were the words too big for him?
As CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in Stein’s piece,
And, by the way, funny how this earthshaking “I wasn’t there… exactly like I said in 2007…but I was deceived somehow!” stop-the-presses moment comes after he takes a job for John “Seared… Seared!” Kerry and writes a book.
Nothing at all strange about that timing!
So John should change the title of this piece to “Just Repeating Exactly What I Said In 2007” and admit to being duped by a nonsensical article. Again.
They only wanted to see if they could make the Senator’s staffers cry when the phones went down. Or see how long it took before someone was motivated enough to do something about a crashed phone system. And film the outcome so they could heavily edit the piece later to show on Fox.
Or something like that.
And, practically as if on cue, look who shows up!
The Republic of Stupidity
Some sand in your shorts this a.m., Li’l Feller?
Doughy pantload had a widely syndicated column where the single source was Kiriakou:
Has he ever addressed the fact that his column was completely wrong on almost every purported fact it contained?
@Zach: Being a neocon means never having to say you’re sorry.
See, this was the perfect time to pull out that fine Rethuglican trope… “[Kiriakou] has a book to sell… “
But when it comes to Abu Zubaydah, it’s Colin Powell’s famous Pottery Barn Principle: We broke him; we bought him. In terms of moral hazard, maybe we can think of the CIA as a thoughtless consumer using America’s global standing as a high-interest credit card — they knew the good times would end eventually, but…
Duh, there’s a ton of other useful information to be gleaned but it’s classified.