To Waterboard or Not to Waterboard?

Waterboarding by the military has been front and center in the news media. For nearly 10 years, American officials have been criticized for waterboarding and have been accused that waterboarding interrogation techniques are a form of torture. A former CIA intelligence officer has revealed insights on this practice.

Jose Rodriguez, Jr. is the former chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, and authored a book entitled “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.” Regarding waterboarding as an “aggressive action,” Rodriguez describes one example of it saving countless lives. After 9/11, the CIA received intelligence from multiple sources that al-Qaida was planning an imminent second attack using unconventional weapons on the West Coast. The CIA and FBI got confirmation of these plans after they captured Osama bin Laden’s chief of operations, Abu Zubaydah. Videotapes found in his compound celebrated the impending second attack. Information they received from Abu Zubaydah enabled analysts to develop valuable new leads yielding new intel information.

Fearing another attack, Rodriguez worked with the Justice Department and an outside consulting company specializing in waterboarding to develop a waterboard protocol that would be acceptable and legal. The White House, the Justice Department and involved members of Congress all approved the protocol. What’s acceptable: water should not be dripped on prisoners for more than 40 seconds, and no session should last more than 20 minutes. What occurred: no detainee in the example cited was subjected to water for more than 10 seconds. No session lasted more than 4.5 minutes.

Paradoxically, according to Rodriguez, tens of thousands of our own U.S. military have been subjected to waterboarding as part of their training to steel them in case they were captured and had to bear waterboarding from the enemy.

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