April 21st, 2009
02:40 PM ET
6 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. nick

    The Pres. specifically said, He wants to look forward, not backward as it relates to the issue of prosecuting those who authorized the torture.
    Jack, your comments are misleading at best, or a lie. Which is it?
    As for your question, I think it´s fair to say 183 times constitutes torture. Don´t you?

    April 21, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Larry

    George W Bush ... Dick Cheney ... and Karl Rove, deserve the gallows

    April 21, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Debbie

    I'm OK with some aggressive measures to find out vital information, but if it hasn't worked after a couple times, then it isn't effective. Doing a "technique" 183 times is purely for the amusement of the people doing it – and that is wrong.

    April 21, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Joy

    Should we as American citizens care if these terrorists were waterboarded. Of course, Obama is going to allow the prosecution of people in Bush's Administration. HE is NOT an AMERICAN.

    People get ready because you are going to reap what you sowed when you voted for the Muslim.

    April 21, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. John Tucker

    If we do not prosecute those people who authorized illegal acts, there will be no deterrent in the future for officials contemplating the authorization of illegal acts.

    April 21, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Jesse

    If you believe waterboarding a captive hundreds of times isn't torture then you believe the end justifies the means.

    And you'd be a Republican.

    April 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. ducdebrabant

    Could there be any better proof of the ineffectiveness of torture than this statistic? We had to torture two individuals an average of 133 times apiece, and that's only one of the techniques we used? How many times a day can you do that? It must have taken place over a period of months, at least. The 265th time I squeeze an avocado and still don't get orange juice is about the time I decide there's no orange juice in an avocado.

    April 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. sherry

    I smell a rat........
    You break a man's spirit as this waterboarding does and he's likely to tell you what you want to hear, just so the torment will stop.
    I don't know how it was actually effective or not.
    If the Bush administration had of listened to the chatter on terrorists using a plane for a weapon of mass destruction.....Then 9/11 would of never happened.

    April 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. marty-Licoln, NE

    I am sure that President Bush and Vice President authorized a lot torture techniques that are simliar in attempting to obtaining a confession for either a crimininal or al Queada suspect will mostly likely give false information to get the person who is doing the torturing to stop. Torture does not work in obtaining credible information.

    April 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Scott the Independent

    The crime is not in who was water boarded; the crime is agreeing by international treaty not to do this thing and holding any violators to the law the world over. Then enacting the crime yourself. Is our foreign policy "do as I say do – not as I do".

    April 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Barry in MO

    As a nation, we need to be above this. If anyone in our government broke the rules and knew they were breaking the rules, they need to be put on trial. Regardless of politics, we as a nation are better than thiss.

    April 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. lhaj

    Turture is illegal and should remain that way. Any one who turtures should be held accountable

    April 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. jerry Bozaan

    Lets get over this torture issue and concentrate on the real issue , the economy. Lets move on and not dwell on the past that can only inflame and divide us. What has happened has worked and until something that can replace it in a more humain manner lets move on.The people were only following orders.
    Furthermore I want to remind President Obama , whom I voted for ,
    that change has its limits. Also I am General Motors salaried retiree and must object to the harsh treatment we have received from Washington while the financial firms were treated with kid gloves.
    Appoint people who are automotive people as weel as financial.
    Steve Rattner is not the man for the task. His record is pretty suspect.

    Thank you very much ...Jerry Bozaan

    April 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. The Bu

    There is such a thing called the Geneva Convention which states that torture should not be used. The American government has spoken out against torture for many years. My question is, for those who think this was okay, imagine an American soldier being captured in Iraq and he or she gets tortured. How would we feel then????? Torture is not right and we shouldn't be doing it.

    April 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Brandon

    Not only did Bush and Cheney authorize torture of terror suspects, but they lied to the American people about it. They acted surprised and horrified about what happened in Abu Ghraib even saying that they never new about these acts, placing the blame on a few low-level military personnel. Now we know they were lying the whole time.

    Put these criminals on trial for war crimes and violating the American Constitution, something they swore to uphold when they were elected.

    Shame on them!

    April 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Terrorist must be dealt with severely, as to their crimes, but that much waterboarding was really an example of extreme overkill.

    April 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Michael

    What is it about, the United States of America does not torture people, that you fail to understand? Either that statement is true, or everything every American school student has been taught about this country for the past at least 60 years has been a lie. It's that simple.

    April 21, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Brandon Vancoucer, WA

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Not only did Bush and Cheney authorize torture of terror suspects, but they lied to the American people about it. They acted surprised and horrified about what happened in Abu Ghraib even saying that they never new about these acts, placing the blame on a few low-level military personnel. Now we know they were lying the whole time.

    Put these criminals on trial for war crimes and violating the American Constitution, something they swore to uphold when they were elected.

    Shame on them!

    April 21, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. RH, Richmond, VA

    No, it constitutes 266 crimes.

    Prosecute those responsible or have the world know that US government officials are above the law. It's as simple as that.

    April 21, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Dawn from Missouri

    Jack,
    If they couldn't get a straight answer the 1st, 2nd. 3rd...... time totured, it makes one wonder what elaborate story a detainnee would come up with by the 183rd near-drowning torturous time!

    Waterboarding is TORTURE and it is morally wrong! IMO (in my opinion) it is UN-PATRIOTIC!

    April 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. John- WA State

    YES! America is better then this. Those who allowed it to happen and knowing they were breaking the law should have to answer for it. You or I can’t re-write the law to fit our personal means or justification to do wrong.

    April 21, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Dawn

    If if violated the law (e.g. Geneva Convention), then duh, of course it's a crime.

    Committing one crime to avenge another is still a crime.

    And committing crimes in pursuit of justice destabilizes the criminal justice system and ultimately puts the entire society at risk. So that's an even bigger crime.

    Waterboarding an individual 183 in one month goes way beyond a crime – it enters the realm of sick and twisted perversion that has driven some of histories darkest atrocities.

    I'm reminded of that old American hobby of branding women as "witches" and then dunking them. What was next, the American Inquisition with Cheney & co running around in hooded robes?

    Sickos!

    April 21, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. steve - farmington maine

    186 times??? I thought the reason the Bush administration didn't want this technique to be revealed was because they didn't want the terrorists to study the technique and be prepared for it? Well...don't you think they might have figured it out by the first 10 – 20 go arounds? Whether or not you believe waterboarding is torture (and this seems to run strictly along the line of whether you are the boarder or the boardee) it sure doesn't seem to be effective. They just don't make born again Christians like they used to.

    April 21, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Harold Longanecker

    waterboarding is tortue-plain and simple.
    I don't belive in tortue.
    I feel that are better then our enemies and we don't have to resort to their act so terror in order to prevail.

    April 21, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. jack b.

    crimes were committed. someone should be held accountable. this is america after all...

    April 21, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
1 2 3 4 5