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CIA officer backpedals on Zubaydah claims

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. intelligence official who lauded the effectiveness of the interrogation tactic known as waterboarding backpedaled on his claims in his book.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou said in a December 2007 interview with Brian Ross of ABC that the controversial tactic persuaded al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah to offer vital information to his interrogators after only one waterboarding treatment.

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Kiriakou said that after one experience with the extraordinary method, Zubaydah answered "every question" and offered up information that prevented "maybe dozens of attacks."

However, in his latest book, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," he backtracks on what he told Ross in 2007, news magazine Foreign Policy points out.

"What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts," he writes. "I wasn't there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I'd heard and read inside the agency at the time."

The International Committee of the Red Cross in a report published in April 2009 said Zubaydah was subjected to a litany of interrogation tactics that the group claims were questionable. The so-called torture memo in 2005 revealed Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.

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"He apparently didn't know as much as he thought he did," CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano told Foreign Policy.

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