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

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

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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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It sure does constitute a crime. Obviously the technique didn't work.

    April 21, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Willy Frietz

    I think they should nationally televise the waterboarding of Ex Vice Pres Cheney till he craps his pants, then ask him if it constitutes torture. Heck I would pay good money to see it on closed circuit!

    April 21, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Willy Frietz

    I think they should nationally televise the watereboarding of ex Vice President Cheney untill he soiled himself. Then televise his interview asking him if he felt tortured.

    April 21, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Ren from Baltimore

    If these are not the worst types of crimes against humanity, then what is? At least a swift death has be better than to "die" 183 times in one month, no? When did we become this animalistic, amoral "truth seeker" government?

    April 21, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Joan

    Since Bush, Cheney, and our prior Attorney General didn't think that waterboarding constituted torture, then apply such humane treatment to them!

    April 21, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. mwita06

    The Bush Administration......the road to Hell was paved with good intentions.

    April 21, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. truthsayer

    Hello!!!, you have to ask???!!!!....its torture Jack. What a crazy question!!!

    April 21, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Kemp Littlefield

    Most of us who have completed some form of SERE training have had the methods referenced by the BHO release applied to us. Not in the numbers noted here, but none the less applied to us. I don't see these methods as life threatening. Unlike the beheading videos we have seen. There's a reason there haven't been many US POWs. No one wants their mother to see them beheaded on a video. They'll go down fighting before they allow themselves to be captured.
    To protect our homeland, I'm personally not adverse to enhanced interrogation methods. If captured, our guys would be lucky to get only enhanced interrogations. BHO will have some future challenges. I can't understand why he wants to tie his hands behind his back in a knife fight.

    April 21, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Mississippi Mike

    No, it's not a crime. They hate us and have vowed to kill and harm us any way they can. We have no obligation to treat them in a humane, comfortable manner. We need to get whatever information out of them we can and then send them to their maker. Whatever it takes to get information out of them is justified because it will save the lives of innocent civilians.

    April 21, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Steve

    Waterboarding is torture. Can you imagine all of those World War 2 movies remade to make torture look legal? Can you imagine John Wayne saying "Take 'em out back and torture them until we get the answer we want." During WW2 we arguably fought the most evil political movement the world has ever seen, we never sank to the level where we tortured our prisoners then, even with lives on the line. It was below our moral standard. Our standards and our ideals are so low. Keep the ideals of America high, no matter what political hack suggests otherwise. Prosecute to the full extent of the law those responsible for such moral depravity in America's name. Let the chips fall where they may. Amen.

    April 21, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. The Last Patriot

    The crime is that they were waterboarded ONLY 266 times. Was someone slacking off on the job or what?

    April 21, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Freed_From_W

    Yes it does, Mr. Cafferty.

    We put people to death at Nuremberg for waterboarding.

    Torture tactics also put into official policy by Bush:
    -head slapping
    -sleep deprivation
    -extreme temperatures
    -physical violence designed to leave no visible marks when clothed
    -laxatives in food
    -no food
    -nudity (private and public)
    -forced denouncement of applicable religions
    -Simulated execution

    April 21, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. richard

    In spite of Cheney's comments about the effectiveness of this methodology what kind of confidence could you have in this technique? Somewhere after the first few times someone must have been unhappy with the answer and said "Ok, we'll do this until you get it right?". Is effort 183 the truth or what they wanted?

    April 21, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. KC

    NO....waterboarding 2 terrorists who are a threat to our country is not a crime.....it is survival.

    April 21, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Joe in NJ

    Maybe if they were offered cookies and warm milk instead they would have confessed.

    April 21, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. V. From Virginia

    There's a reason I'm glad to live in America. It's the spirit of this country that convinces us to take the High Road when no one else will.

    Or least I thought........

    I want to live in America that preserves the dignity of freedom, not the illusion of it.

    April 21, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Nestor, Austin, TX

    Give those CIA interrogators medals!

    April 21, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. jennifer

    Jack this is THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! We do not torture, remember?

    April 21, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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