(Today is CIA IG Report day. While we wait, I’m re-posting two posts I did in June describing what we already know is in the report.)

Much of the focus on the now-delayed but upcoming release of the CIA IG Report on torture has been on whether the six page section on "Effectiveness"–the section that most challenges Dick Cheney’s claims–would be released.

What people seem to be oblivious to, however, is that much of this section has already been released–in two of the Bradbury Memos declassified in April. I first reported on the IG Report’s comments about efficacy here and a week later, McClatchy did effectively the same report. I’ve replicated the section describing the page-by-page contents, as revealed by the Bradbury memos, below. But here’s basically what the IG Report appears to have concluded about torture’s inefficacy.

  • It could not be conclusively determined whether or not torture had prevented any attacks
  • There is limited data on whether torture is effective or not
  • Torture leads to an increased number of intelligence reports–it’s not clear whether the IG Report comments on the quality of those reports
  • But you can’t learn everything form one detainee–even someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; the information from more minor figures is important to challenge High Value Detainees
  • The CIA waterboarded Abu Zubaydah and KSM a whole bunch of times

Note that last bullet: the report on the sheer number of times AZ and KSM were waterboarded shows up in the section on efficacy–suggesting that the number itself says something about the inefficacy of the technique.

So that’s it–that’s much what the Effectiveness section will show. And given the stinginess of the CIA of late, I expect we might just get exactly what was revealed in the Bradbury memos, and nothing more, once the IG Report is actually released.

I’m actually more interested in some other sections of the IG Report–which we also know of thanks to Steven Bradbury. But I’ll explain those in a follow-up post.


As Bradbury notes on page 10 of his memo, the IG Report discusses the efficacy of enhanced interrogation from page 85 though 91. Here are the topics that discussion covers, in order, with the Bradbury description of the reference:

Page 85: No direct reference

Page 86: A description of an increase in intelligence reports attributable to enhanced methods and a discussion arguing that you can’t measure the efficacy of interrogation by pointing to just the reports from one detainee..

See IG Report at 86, 90-91 (describing increase in intelligence reports attributable to use of enhanced techniques). 


According to the CIA Inspector General:

CTC frequently uses the information from one detainee, as well as other sources, to vet the information from another detainee. Although lower-level detainees provide less information than the high value detainees, information from these detainees has, on many occasions, supplied the information needed to probe the high value detainees further. … [T]he triangulation of intelligence provides a fuller knowledge of Al-Qa’ida activities than would be possible from a single detainee.

IG Report at 86.

Page 87: No direct reference

Page 88: A statement that it is difficult to determine whether interrogations have stopped specific attacks.

As the IG Report notes, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks. See id. at 88.

Page 89: A statement noting that there is limited data on whether enhanced methods are effective (note–Bradbury pitches this as an observation that the techniques were used "sparingly," which from the context appears to be disingenuous).

And, because the CIA has used enhanced techniques sparingly, "there is limited data on which to assess their individual effectiveness." Id at 89.

Page 90: A comment on the increased number of reports tied to enhanced methods, along with a discussion of the number of times Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded.

See IG Report at 86, 90-91 (describing increase in intelligence reports attributable to use of enhanced techniques). 


The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.  

Page 91: A comment on the increased number of reports tied to enhanced methods, along with a discussion of the number of times KSM was waterboarded.

See IG Report at 86, 90-91 (describing increase in intelligence reports attributable to use of enhanced techniques). 


The CIA used the waterboard … 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.