Cheney: If his lips move, he’s lying.
In an interview with host Scott Hennen on a Fargo, North Dakota radio station, Dick Cheney spoke on a wide variety of issues. Here, I want to concentrate on one aspect of what he said that can be nothing other than a bald-faced lie.
Here is how CNN.com presented his comments on waterboarding:
Cheney also defended the use of water-boarding in the lengthy interview with the conservative talk-show host Thursday, an interrogation technique that President Obama has sharply criticized and put an end to.
"We resorted … to waterboarding, which is the source of much of the controversy, with only three individuals. In those cases, it was only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process," he said. "The way the whole program was set up was very careful, to use other methods and only to resort to the enhanced techniques in those special circumstances."
Note especially the part about waterboarding "only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process". There is no way this statement is true with respect to Mohammed.
The capture of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed was on March 1, 2003. As Ali Soufan documented from his initial interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, conventional interrogation through rapport-building is a very long process. There is no way that conventional interrogation of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed was given an opportunity to succeed, since he was waterboarded 183 times in March, 2003, the very same month he was captured.
There could not have been an attempt at conventional interrogation of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed. If so, his waterboarding would not have occurred until several months had elapsed after his capture. Here is Soufan’s description of the interrogation of Zubaydah:
It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
Note that Soufan’s account shows that Zubaydah was providing good intelligence, so there appears to have been no reason to waterboard him, adding to Cheney’s lies. With Mohammed, however, the calendar as presented to us now leaves no room for even a token attempt at conventional interrogation. He went directly to the waterboard and Cheney’s account on Thursday is a lie.