Senate Report on CIA Torture

Karachi Plots

The Karachi plots were a series of planned attacks on U.S. and other Western interests in Karachi, Pakistan, including the U.S. consulate, diplomatic housing, the airport, hotels, and Pakistan’s Faisal Air Base. The CIA claimed that it collected significant, otherwise unavailable information about the Karachi plots after interrogating detainees, particularly through waterboarding. In a document for President Bush, the CIA stated that the Karachi plots were “uncovered during the initial interrogations of [Walid] bin Attash (referred to in the report as "Khallad bin Attash") and Ammar al-Baluchi and later confirmed by KSM.” In other statements to Vice President Dick Cheney, the Department of Justice, and policymakers, the CIA claimed that “enhanced interrogation” "enabled us to disrupt...the Karachi Plot."

However, the CIA interrogation played no role in the discovery or disruption of the Karachi plots. In fact, “[t]he operation and arrests were conducted unilaterally by Pakistani authorities and were unrelated to any reporting from the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program."

In April 2003, Pakistani authorities followed a criminal lead to find a truck transporting explosives and ammunition. The truck driver also told authorities “the location where the explosives were being delivered, leading to the capture of several operatives, including Ammar al-Baluchi and [Walid] bin Attash.” Both detainees provided information about the attacks to the Pakistanis before they were transferred to CIA custody and subjected to torture or cruel treatment, including (largely from al-Baluchi) “the surveillance conducted, the envisioned targets, and the exact method of attack that was considered for the U.S. Consulate in Karachi and other hard targets.” They were transferred to the CIA and “immediately subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.” After this, the CIA reported information about the Karachi plots, and disseminated intelligence reports that were subsequently used in “intelligence products, talking points, briefing documents, and President Bush’s September 6, 2006, speech” to show that enhanced interrogation techniques had “thwarted,” “disrupted,” or uncovered” the plots.  “However, within 24 hours of the dissemination of these intelligence reports,” records show, “CIA personnel in Karachi responded in an official cable that the information acquired from the CIA detainees and disseminated was already known to the CIA and U.S. Consulate officials.” They said: "[w]hile reporting from both [al-Baluchi and bin Attash] was chilling - [CIA officers] had become aware of most of this reporting either through previous information or through interviews of al-Baluchi and [(Walid) bin] Attash prior to their transfer out of Karachi."