April 21st, 2009
02:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Cafferty: Waterboarding 2 members of al Qaeda 266 times constitute a crime?

 Join the conversation on Jack's blog.
Join the conversation on Jack's blog.

Those hotly debated Bush era interrogation memos include this little nugget: CIA officials waterboarded two al Qaeda suspects 266 times. Interrogators waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August of 2002; and they used the tactic against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the 9/11 attacks, 183 times in March of 2003. That’s about six times a day.

These memos show waterboarding was used more frequently and with a greater volume of water than CIA rules allowed. Time magazine suggests the use of the tactic seemed to “occasionally get out of control.” Don’t you wonder what they learned from Khalid Sheik Mohammed the 183rd time they waterboarded him that they didn’t know after waterboarding him 182 times?

In an about-face today, President Obama opened the door to the possibility of criminal prosecution for former Bush officials who authorized this stuff. He says it will be up to the attorney general to decide whether or not to prosecute them. Up until now, the president insisted there would be no investigation of those who ordered the torture, or those who carried it out.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here.

Filed under: Cafferty File
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. mike b

    i think executing somalis is ok but waterboarding the terrorsits masterminds is bad to do.

    April 21, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. FreeNLovIt

    Consider the fact that they enjoy beheading people and enjoy posting them on the internet, I say they deserve it.

    April 21, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Michael

    Jack, this is a man who'd like to see us all dead and who proudly claims responsibility for the murder of thousands of Americans. The only crime here is that they didn't keep the water flowing.

    April 21, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Mark

    Hmmm. Now let's see. Sheik Mohammed sat on Danny Perl's back with both knees, pull back his head, and used a knife to decapitate him. Then he masterminded the plan to crash two airliners into the World Trade Center buildings, another to crash into the Pentagon, and yet another that ended up crashing into the ground. Just to name a few things that we know he has done.

    No, I don't think that waterboarding him was all that bad. But then I don't have all that much empathy for viciously cruel murders (can't call them terrorists now apparently).

    April 21, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. JP

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is responsible for more than 3000 deaths. 183 looks like a very low number, 3000 would have been more appropriate.

    April 21, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Debra Austin, Texas

    According to Cheney, waterboarding was a success...after 83 and 183 times. Uncork the champagne, THIS saved America from further terrorist attacks. What a bozo. According to that theory, Clinton was even more successful because he never had another attack after the initial one on the Twin Towers in the 90s and Clinton didn't authorize ANY torture.

    April 21, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. BILL

    Either those two guys liked being waterboarded, or once they found out the United States wouldn't let them die, that it did not bother them.

    April 21, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Moderate Democrat

    "Don’t you wonder what they learned from Khalid Sheik Mohammed the 183rd time they waterboarded him that they didn’t know after waterboarding him 182 times?"
    How true that is.

    But according to Cheney we gained a bunch...like we won both wars, err, I mean one of the wars...errr, nevermind. Ok, but we caught Osama Bin Laden because of....uhh, wait, nevermind. But it DID help us find the WMD's....oh, ooops, nevermind again....I'm sure it did SOMETHING...

    We just can't point at what it actually helped us do, other then get our jollies by spitting on the principals that this country was founded upon.

    April 21, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. jrzshor

    seems that most everyone has forgotten one minor fact.

    the only crime involved here was in the mass killing of 3,000 innocent, hard working people!

    no other crime(s) was committed.

    April 21, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. JB

    not enough!

    April 21, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    This country is becoming a joke.

    April 21, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Jason Reagan

    There are no grey areas here. Bush/Cheney officials broke the law. The President and the CIA lied to the American people. They should be held accountable for their actions. No one is above the law.

    April 21, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Rorschach

    When a prisoner is waterboarded six times a day for a month – at what point does that prisoner realize that he's most likely not going to die? At that point, have the people doing the waterboarding crossed the line from "extracting information" to plain old sadism?

    April 21, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Doug In PA

    Yes jack, it was unnecessary to waterboard that often. Personally I would have liked to pull their finger nails out one at a time but my humanity would keep me from doing so. Even Mccain says torture doesnt work, who better would know?

    April 21, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Suzan, Midland, MI

    This is a refreshing change! All along I have wanted someone held accountable for torture. This is inhuman behavior, just like the torture at Abu Graib. We evidently weren't shocked enough then to demand change, but a new day has dawned, and laws will be followed. Hallelujah!

    April 21, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Desmond

    The USA must show its citizens and the world that it maintains the highest ethical standards before it can presume to preach to the world. One way of doing so is by prosecuting officials who authorized the torture.

    April 21, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Jon in CA

    Declassify the confessions of these known terrorists!

    Let the public see what information was obtained and how we stopped a terrorist attack at Los Angeles Airport.

    Let the WHOLE truth be known!

    April 21, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Waterboarding is not torture first off. If it is you need to go arrest everyone that ever trained a military pilot. Secondly I could care less if people who helped kill 3000 Americans were tortured, I hope they were. Not just to keep America safe, I hope they were tortured as a form of justice. I could care less what the situation is, If you kill 3000 civilians You should suffer a long and painful death. ” Don’t you wonder what they learned from Khalid Sheik Mohammed the 183rd time they waterboarded him that they didn’t know after waterboarding him 182 times? Yes I do And the former VP demanded that Obama hand over that info but Obama has yet to do so.

    April 21, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Brook E. Mantia

    Hmm, waterboarding certainly doesn't appear to be as effective as some people would like us to think.

    April 21, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Jimmy Boy

    I don't know. Is committing acts of terror against other humans a crime?

    April 21, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. President George Hussien Washington

    Terrorist shouldn't fall under the Geneva Convention unless they are rep. of a country.

    April 21, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Rick

    Waterboarding 2 members of al Qaeda 266 times constitute a crime?

    The only crime is that they didn't waterboard them 267 times.

    April 21, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. David

    Yeah, maybe we should have asked the Al Qaeda detainees politely to give us information that would enable us to prevent further attacks to our country. Wake up people!! When our fellow American's lives are at stake we should want our government to do anything and everything in its power to protect US first. Let's say one of your family members were captured by a terrorist organization and we had in our custody someone that knew exactly where they were but would not talk. How do you feel about those tactics now? Not so bad anymore…

    April 21, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Johnny the Boy

    These animals have done far worst to Americans. I say do worst.

    Typical of Obama the Commie Premier to reconsider his position. Chavez and the Castro brothers have his ear.

    April 21, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Rich G

    Come on now, on the 267th time you might've learned something! What a joke. After 200+ times, it ain't working fellas.

    April 21, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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