Memos: Waterboarding used extensively

April 20, 2009 at 12:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- U.S. interrogators used waterboarding 183 times in a month on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has said he planned the 2001 terror attack, federal records indicate.

Citing a 2005 Justice Department memo, The New York Times reported Monday that CIA interrogators used the method -- which Obama administration officials have said constitutes illegal torture -- more extensively on Mohammed and another al-Qaida prisoner than had previously been reported.

The memo indicates waterboarding was used 183 times against Mohammed in March 2003, and at least 83 times in August 2002 on Abu Zubaydah.

In February 2008, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that waterboarding -- a process that approximates near-drowning -- was used in 2002 and 2003 but had not been used since. Hayden said information obtained from waterboarding accounted for 25 percent of the intelligence reports circulated by the CIA on al-Qaida activities.

The Times reported in 2007 that Mohammed had been subjected to harsh interrogation methods more than 100 times -- and that CIA officers had called off his interrogation out of concern that the interrogators might have gone beyond what was legally permissible.

President Barack Obama -- who has been criticized by conservatives for releasing Justice Department memos that detail harsh interrogation methods and by liberals for opposing prosecution of CIA interrogators -- is scheduled to visit CIA headquarters Monday, the Times said. The president will deliver public remarks to CIA workers and hold private discussions with agency brass, the report said.

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