A litany of threats, abuse

Associated Press / August 25, 2009

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Some highlights of the newly declassified 2004 CIA documents, released yesterday, detailing the Bush administration’s interrogations of suspected terrorists:

■ Interrogators told 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that “if anything else happens in the United States, ‘We’re going to kill your children,’ ’’ one veteran officer said in the report.

■ An officer who said he had never been trained in interrogating repeatedly pinched the carotid artery of a detainee until the man started to pass out, then shook him awake.

■ Interrogators stepped up their use of waterboarding beyond the simulated drowning tactics authorized by lawyers. Even after interrogators believed terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah to be cooperative, CIA officials at headquarters pressured them to keep waterboarding.

■ Capturing and interrogating terrorism suspects helped warn officials of terrorist plots and provided important intelligence, but “measuring the effectiveness of waterboarding and other extreme tactics is a more subjective process and not without some concern.’’

■ Interrogators conducted at least one mock execution to try to scare a prisoner into talking. Mock executions are a violation of US antitorture laws.

■ While questioning Abd al-Nashiri, a suspect in the 2000 USS Cole bombing, an interrogator hinted that officials would sexually assault al-Nashiri’s mother in front of him and pretended to be a member of a Middle East intelligence agency that is believed to use such a tactic.

■ Some CIA officials said the agency had limited intelligence on Al Qaeda and very little understanding about what senior leaders knew, so interrogators could only speculate about what a detainee “should know.’’