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Senate Report on CIA Torture

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM)

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (spelled Khalid Shaykh Mohammad in the torture report) (KSM) was captured on March 1, 2003. He was initially held in Pakistan and interrogated by Pakistani and CIA officers. During this time, KSM was subjected to sleep deprivation, but no other coercive techniques. 

When KSM was transferred to CIA custody (Detention Site Cobalt), “interrogators began using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques…a ‘few minutes’ after the questioning of KSM began.” He was “subjected to facial and abdominal slaps, the facial grab, stress positions, standing sleep deprivation (with his hands at or above head level), nudity, and water dousing.” He was also subjected to rectal rehydrationwithout a determination of medical need,” in order to demonstrate “total control over the detainee.”

In early March, 2003, KSM was moved to Detention Site Blue. CIA contract psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen took over his interrogation. KSM “was immediately stripped and placed in the standing sleep deprivation position” and until March 9, 2003, KSM was subjected to “nudity, standing sleep deprivation, the attention grab and insult slap, the facial grab, the abdominal slap, the kneeling stress position, and walling.” Mitchell and Jessen also “began threatening KSM’s children,” which the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center Legal Department (CTC Legal) advised was “legal so long as the threats were ‘conditional.’” At one point interrogators “hung a picture of KSM’s sons in his cell as a way to ‘[heighten] his imagination concerning where they are, who has them, [and] what is in store for them.’” He suffered a pedal edema from extended standing.

KSM was waterboardedat least 183 times.” A medical officer wrote to the CIA’s Office of Medical Services that this “technique…[was] basically a series of near drownings.” “[I]nterrogators responded to KSM’s efforts to breathe during the [waterboarding] sessions by holding KSM’s lips and directing the water at his mouth.” He was also “subjected to more than 65 applications of water during the four waterboarding sessions between the afternoon of March 12, 2003, and the morning of March 13, 2002” in breach of CIA draft guidelines, which said that “up to three waterboard sessions in a 24-hour period was acceptable.” Around March 14, 2003, a CIA interrogator suggested in an email to CIA headquarters that waterboarding “is not working in gaining KSM[’s] compliance.” The deputy chief of the CIA interrogation agreed that waterboarding “‘[a]gainst KSM has proved ineffective’…‘was counterproductive’…[and] that ‘[w]e seem to have lost ground with KSM’” since his earlier interrogation, where waterboarding was not used. Despite these assessments, KSM was waterboarded for 10 more days.

On his first day in CIA custody, KSM provided an “accurate description of a Pakistani/British operative, which was dismissed as…false or worthless information,” gained in the “throwaway” stage of interrogation. When KSM was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, he “fabricated information in order to tell CIA interrogators ‘what he thought they wanted to hear,’” including “information [that] resulted in the capture and CIA detention of two innocent individuals.” At one point, while “on the waterboard, KSM ‘seemed to lose control’ and appeared ‘somewhat frantic,’ stating that he ‘had been forced to lie, and ma[k]e up stories’” as a result of his interrogation. Information provided by the CIA’s ALEC Station to its Renditions and Detention Group (RDG) in July 2003 stated “that KSM fabricated information in order to tell CIA interrogators ‘what he thought they wanted to hear.’” Such fabricated information included a story about sending an operative “to Montana to recruit African-American Muslim converts.”