09 December 2005

Torture and Lies

In today’s New York Times, yet another reason why
torture is a really bad idea.

The Bush administration based a crucial
prewar assertion about ties between Iraq
and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made
by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody
who later said he had fabricated them to
escape harsh treatment, according to
current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh
al-Libi, provided his most specific and
elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq
and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly
handed over to Egypt by the United States
in January 2002, in a process known as

The new disclosure provides the first
public evidence that bad intelligence on
Iraq may have resulted partly from the
administration's heavy reliance on third
countries to carry out interrogations of
Qaeda members and others detained as part
of American counterterrorism efforts. The
Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts
as the basis for its prewar claims, now
discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al
Qaeda included training in explosives and
chemical weapons.