Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Includes Role of Religion In Prisoner Cooperation

A reported by the Washington Post, today the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released an unclassified 525-page version of its Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program. (Full text of report). Appendix 3 in the report (.pdf pg. 488) outlines examples of inaccurate CIA testimony to the Intelligence Committee in 2007.  It includes a section captioned "The Religious Foundation for Cooperation" (.pdf pg. 511) that sets out the following inaccurate testimony given by CIA Director Michael Hayden:
This proposed program ... has been informed by our experience and it has been informed by the detainees. It's built on the particular psychological profile of the people we have and expect to get -- al-Qa'ida operatives. Perceiving themselves true believers in a religious war, detainees believe they are morally bound to resist until Allah has sent them a burden too great for them to withstand. At that point ... their cooperation in their own heart and soul becomes blameless and they enter into this cooperative relationship with our debriefers.
...we use the enhanced interrogation techniques at the beginning of this process, and it varies how long it takes, but I gave you a week or two as the normal window in which we actually helped this religious zealot to get over his own personality and put himself in a spirit of cooperation.... You recall the policy on which this is based, that we're going to give him a burden that Allah says is too great for you to bear, so they can put the burden down.
According to the Committee:
CIA records do not indicate that CIA detainees described a religious basis for cooperating in association with the CIA's enhanced interrogation technique.....
... [M]ore than two months before Abu Zubaydah began his August 2002 enhanced interrogation period, Abu Zubaydah told interrogators that "if he possessed any more information on future threats, then he would provide this information to us to help himself, claiming that 'the sharia' gives him permission to do so in his current situation.  Abu Zubaydah also made a similar statement to his interrogators approximately a week later ... stating that he had "prayed his 'Istikharah' (seeking God's guidance) and was now willing to tell what he really knew," and "that he had received guidance from God" to cooperate to "prevent his captured brothers from having a difficult time."