Judicial Watch Obtains Top Secret Memorandum Detailing Closed Congressional Hearing on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
MARCH 08, 2010
Testimony by DOD Official: “…the most important factor in the capture of
Saddam Hussein was interrogation.”
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has received a Memorandum from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) marked “Top Secret” that includes a detailed report of a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) closed hearing regarding the subject of enhanced interrogation techniques. The CIA produced the document pursuant to a previous court order in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the CIA (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency, Case: 09-1352). The court order stipulates that documents pertaining to congressional briefings for Speaker Pelosi and other members of Congress on “enhanced interrogation techniques” must be provided to Judicial Watch by April 15th.
The following are excerpts from the Memorandum, dated July 14, 2004:
- Summary of testimony by DOD Official, Lt. Gen. William Boykin: “At this point, General Boykin read a prepared statement to the Committee in which he asserted that interrogation is a critically valuable tool, and, citing observations made by service personnel at Ft. Bragg, said that the most [imp]ortant factor in the capture of Saddam Hussein was interrogation.”
- Summary of testimony by member of the CTC (Counterterrorism Center), name redacted: “…Even today long term detainees like Khalid Shayk Muhammed and Zubaydah are providing good information because their histories go back a long way and often a tidbit they provide, while not initially operationally significant, ends up being the piece that completes the puzzle; DC/CTC closed by noting that he was personally persuaded that detainee reporting has saved lives.”
- Rep. Jane Harman: “What do you think of the value of enhanced techniques?” John Pistole, Witness for the FBI: “In my view the benefits are huge and the costs are insignificant. Very few detainees don’t provide us with good information….”
- Rep. Ruppersberger: “Are there procedures that we have stopped that should be resumed?” Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Army G-2, [now Director of the National Security Agency (NSA)]: “Yes. Diet and sleep management. Those, plus segregation which is still employed, are key…”
- General Alexander also testified that field commanders wanted more “97E’s” (interrogators), “even to the point of trading off some of their combat troops.”
- Saddam Hussein was not subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, but “friendly discussions with an eye to future public prosecution.”
The document also recounts an allegation by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) that the CIA had not been giving the committee “full and candid testimony on the detainee issue.” Testimony also suggests that interrogators at Fort Bragg believed that “unobtrusive forms of interrogation are the best.”
“We are now beginning to get a very clear picture of what members of Congress knew about so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and when they knew it,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Intelligence officials repeatedly informed members of Congress that enhanced interrogation techniques are effective and save lives. It is little wonder why the Obama administration would try to keep these documents hidden, given the administration’s ideological hostility to these effective interrogation techniques.”
In February, Judicial Watch released documents, previously marked “Top Secret,” indicating that between 2001 and 2007, the CIA briefed at least 68 members of Congress on the CIA interrogation program, including so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The documents include the dates of all congressional briefings and, in some cases, the members of Congress in attendance and the specific subjects discussed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who previously denied she was briefed by the CIA on the use of these techniques, is specifically referenced in a briefing that took place on April 24, 2002, regarding the “ongoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah.”
Sign Up for Updates!