Contradicting the assertions of President Bush and waterboarding advocates at the CIA, federal investigators say a suspected al Qaeda operative who was subjected to the simulated drowning technique produced increasingly unreliable information after his interrogators began treating him harshly.
Abu Zubaida was captured in 2002 and moved through the CIA's secret prison system for much of that year. Although the FBI says Zubaida was a fairly low-level associate of some al Qaeda players, the CIA was convinced that he actually was a high-level terrorist who simply was holding out on them.
"I don't have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted," retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman told the Washington Post, referring to the harsh measures. "He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn't believe him. The problem is they didn't realize he didn't know all that much."