Guantanamo Bay detainee: I make up stories
Newly released information suggests that harsh interrogation techniques could lead to false information.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, told U.S. military officials that he lied to the CIA after being abused, according to documents made public Monday, a claim that figures to intensify the debate over whether harsh interrogation techniques generated accurate information.Skip to next paragraph
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Mohammed made the assertion during hearings at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was transferred in 2006 after having been held at secret CIA sites since his capture in 2003.
"I make up stories," Mohammed said, describing in broken English an interrogation probably administered by the CIA concerning the location of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. "Where is he? I don't know. Then, he torture me," Mohammed said of his interrogator. "Then I said, `Yes, he is in this area.'"
Mohammed also appeared to say that he had fingered individuals he did not know as being al-Qaida members in order to avoid abusive treatment. Although there was no way to corroborate his statements, Mohammed is one of the militants whom the CIA repeatedly subjected to the simulated-drowning technique known as waterboarding.
The newly released information could amplify calls for the Obama administration to make public more details about the abuse of terrorism suspects or allow a broader inquiry into the Bush administration's interrogation policies. Monday's disclosure represented a rare allegation by a detainee that he had lied while being subjected to harsh practices.
An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, said Mohammed's statements raised questions about the effectiveness of the CIA's interrogation program.
"It underscores the unreliability of statements obtained by torture," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project.
The CIA, however, took issue with the description of its interrogation techniques as torture and the assertion that they were not useful.
"The CIA plainly has a very different take on its past interrogation practices - what they were and what they weren't - and on the need to protect properly classified national security information," said Paul Gimigliano, an agency spokesman.
The bulk of the documents released Monday, consisting of transcripts of tribunal hearings held at Guantanamo Bay for accused al-Qaida members, had been released previously. But the Bush administration had classified many parts, including detainees' allegations that they were abused while in CIA custody. The re-released transcripts remained heavily redacted, containing long passages of blacked-out text.