The New York Times did some comparisons… it’s not good for the CIA…
Killing of Osama bin Laden
No counterterrorism mission was more successful or higher profile than the secret raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. Almost immediately, C.I.A. officials began telling Congress that its interrogation program led them to a secretive courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, who in turn led the C.I.A. to the doorstep of the world’s most-wanted terrorist.
But in page after page of previously classified evidence, the committee calls those statements inaccurate. The report shows that, as early as 2002, the C.I.A. received a wealth of evidence about the courier, including his alias and his association with Bin Laden, as well as a physical description and family connections that would later prove crucial in finding him. By the end of the year, the C.I.A. was wiretapping his phone number and email address and had recordings of his voice.
The linchpin in the hunt for the courier was a detainee named Hassan Ghul. But Mr. Ghul was cooperative from the outset. One officer said he “sang like a tweetie bird.” Mr. Ghul spoke expansively about the courier, describing him as Bin Laden’s closest assistant. Despite the cooperation, the C.I.A. decided to torture Mr. Ghul, subjecting him to sleep deprivation and stress positions. He hallucinated. His heart fell out of rhythm. But he provided “no actionable threat information.”
Nevertheless, after the Bin Laden raid, the C.I.A. provided Congress with a document listing Mr. Ghul as a detainee who had been subjected to enhanced interrogation and provided valuable intelligence on Bin Laden’s courier. The document did not make clear that the valuable intelligence came before the harsh tactics.
FROM PAGES 379-380 OF THE REPORT
Thwarting of Dirty Bomb and Capture of José Padilla
José Padilla, who was accused of plotting a radiological dirty bomb attack inside the United States, was one of the first American citizens designated an “enemy combatant.” The Bush administration credited the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah with uncovering the plot and leading investigators to Mr. Padilla. His arrest has been held up for years as proof that waterboarding and other tactics worked.
But Abu Zubaydah’s information on Mr. Padilla was sketchy, and he provided it well before he was waterboarded. Mr. Padilla, in fact, was arrested in May 2002, three months before the C.I.A. interrogation program began.
For all the publicity the Bush administration gave Mr. Padilla, the committee revealed that the government never took his dirty bomb plot seriously. It was based on a satirical Internet article titled “How to Make an H-Bomb,” and the plot involved swinging a bucket full of uranium over one’s head for 45 minutes. One internal C.I.A. email declared that such a plot would most likely kill Mr. Padilla but “would definitely not result in a nuclear explosive device.” Another called Mr. Padilla “a petty criminal” and described the dirty bomb plot as “lore.”
FROM PAGE 230 OF THE REPORT
Thwarting of the Karachi Plots
President Bush credited the C.I.A. interrogation program with helping to prevent an attack on the United States Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. The tip can be traced back to the interrogations of Ammar al-Baluchi and Khallad bin Attash, who were subjected to harsh C.I.A. interrogations in May 2003. Intelligence reports from those interrogations state that Al Qaeda was plotting attacks on the consulate and other Western targets in Karachi.
But according to the committee report, the C.I.A. already knew that information. Mr. Baluchi and Mr. bin Attash had provided it weeks earlier to Pakistani officials, who then relayed it to the C.I.A. So when the intelligence report on the Karachi plot was issued, C.I.A. officials in Pakistan were nonplussed. They issued a cable saying they “had become aware of most of this reporting” already. Security at the consulate had been increased based on earlier threats, the officers reported.
Weeks later, when Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — after being subjected to waterboarding — discussed the Karachi plot, it came as no surprise to C.I.A. officials, who again reported that they already knew about it.
FROM PAGE 239 OF THE REPORT
Thwarting of ‘Second Wave’ Plot and Discovery of Al Ghurabaa Group
In 2006, the White House announced that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had been conceived as an attack on two fronts, with a “second wave” planned on the West Coast. The plot, as described by Mr. Bush, involved hijacking an airplane and crashing it into Library Tower in Los Angeles.
In a memo to the Justice Department, the C.I.A. credited the waterboarding of Mr. Mohammed with uncovering this plot. But the committee report revealed that the C.I.A. learned about the plot in January 2002 with the arrest of Masran bin Arshad, a Malaysian national who was involved. Mr. Mohammed confirmed the existence of the plot after being tortured, to the frustration of C.I.A. interrogators who said he was confirming only what they already knew.
FROM PAGES 246-247 OF THE REPORT
Identification, Capture and Arrest of Iyman Faris
In 2003, the Justice Department charged an Ohio truck driver, Iyman Faris, in a Qaeda plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting its suspension cables. In government briefings, C.I.A. officials repeatedly credited the interrogation program with uncovering the plot and identifying Mr. Faris.
The committee report revealed that it was actually a court-approved wiretap of another American suspect, Majid Khan, that prompted the F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Faris. Mr. Khan’s capture and interrogation by a foreign government — without any harsh tactics, according to C.I.A. documents — led to the identification of Mr. Faris as a Qaeda member.
Later, after being tortured, Mr. Mohammed identified a photo of Mr. Faris but could not remember his name. He said that he had once tasked Mr. Faris with finding tools to loosen the bolts of American suspension bridges, but that Mr. Faris had been unable to do so. The F.B.I. had already been following Mr. Faris at that point, and when agents approached him, he talked voluntarily, the report showed.
Separately, C.I.A. officials played down the likelihood of the bridge attack. “We risk making ourselves look silly if the best we can do is the Brooklyn Bridge,” one official wrote in 2005.
FROM PAGE 276 OF THE REPORT
Thwarting of the Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf Plot
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Mohammed hoped to use hijacked airplanes to attack Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, a business district in London. The C.I.A. credited its enhanced interrogation of him with uncovering the plot.
But the committee report shows that the C.I.A. knew that Al Qaeda had targeted Heathrow months before Mr. Mohammed was captured and waterboarded. The plot was labeled “not imminent” because Al Qaeda had not identified pilots for the mission. And the plot was disrupted in full with the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mr. Mohammed and others.
FROM PAGE 295 OF THE REPORT
Capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh
The Bush administration said that the capture of Abu Zubaydah and his subsequent interrogation, which included waterboarding, led to the capture of Mr. bin al-Shibh, another senior Qaeda operative. A senior C.I.A. official told Congress that Abu Zubaydah “led us to Ramzi bin al-Shibh.”
The committee report found no evidence of that. “C.I.A. records indicate that Ramzi bin al-Shibh was captured unexpectedly” during raids in Pakistan in which authorities were searching for someone else. While C.I.A. cables indicate that Abu Zubaydah did reveal information on Mr. bin al-Shibh during his waterboarding, interrogation reports cited by the committee revealed that Abu Zubaydah had already revealed that information to the F.B.I. — without being tortured.
FROM PAGE 320 OF THE REPORT
Capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Mr. Bush credited the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah and Mr. bin al-Shibh with providing “information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.” The C.I.A. also credited its interrogation of Abu Zubaydah with revealing Mr. Mohammed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“It was Abu Zubaydah, early in his detention, who identified K.S.M. as the mastermind of 9/11,” Michael Hayden, director of the C.I.A., told Congress. “Until that time, K.S.M. did not even appear in our charge of key Al Qaeda members and associates.”
But C.I.A. documents show that Mr. Mohammed was a suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks almost immediately.
Also, in a section of the report that was heavily redacted by the C.I.A., the committee showed that a source — referred to as Asset X — led the C.I.A. to Mr. Mohammed. The source sent his C.I.A. handler a text message that read: “I M W KSM.” The informant, seeking a $25 million reward, led the agency to Mr. Mohammed.
FROM PAGE 327 OF THE REPORT