The Senate is holding torture hearings today (as I type). Ali Soufan is a former FBI interrogator who was present for the CIA interrogations of Abu Zubaydah during the spring of 2002. Abu Zubaydah is the high-value terror suspect that was waterboarded by the CIA 83 times. The former FBI interrogator has just flatly contradicted (under oath) the claim from the 2002 torture memos (which were cited by Cheney and others as proof) that harsh interrogation techniques worked. Ali Soufan is the FBI agent that got Abu Zubaydah to talk without torture. -------------------- Here's some quick background info. This is from a Newsweek article published a couple weeks ago: The arguments at the CIA safe house were loud and intense in the spring of 2002. Inside, a high-value terror suspect, Abu Zubaydah, was handcuffed to a gurney. He had been wounded during his capture in Pakistan and still had bullet fragments in his stomach, leg and groin. Agency operatives were aiming to crack him with rough and unorthodox interrogation tacticsincluding stripping him nude, turning down the temperature and bombarding him with loud music. But one impassioned young FBI agent wanted nothing to do with it. He tried to stop them. The agent, Ali Soufan, was known as one of the bureau's top experts on Al Qaeda. He also had a reputation as a shrewd interrogator who could work fluently in both English and Arabic. Soufan yelled at one CIA contractor and told him that what he was doing was wrong, ineffective and an affront to American values. At one point, Soufan discovered a dark wooden "confinement box" that the contractor had built for Abu Zubaydah. It looked, Soufan recalls, "like a coffin." The mercurial agent erupted in anger, got on a secure phone line and called Pasquale D'Amuro, then the FBI assistant director for counterterrorism. "I swear to God," he shouted, "I'm going to arrest these guys!" Ali Soufan Breaks His Silence | Newsweek National News | Newsweek.com -------------------- Anyway. Ali Soufan, in his opening testimony this morning, credited his own use of non-torture interrogation techniques (traditional techniques) to extract the information we got. Read that again: The way the U.S. was able to extract intel from the detainee was through traditional (non-torture) interrogation techniques. Soufan testified nothing important was gotten through "enhanced" techniques: stripping them naked, dropping the room temp to freezing, blasting rock music, the coffin-sized torture box, waterboarding, stress positions, etc. This is a key moment, because a passage in the 2002 torture memo has been held up again and again as proof that torture did extract key info. But Soufan is saying its false. And he was there.