[JURIST] A retired US CIA agent told ABC News Monday that CIA interrogators have successfully used waterboarding [JURIST news archive] to get crucial information about planned terror attacks, though the agent did say he considered the technique to be torture. Retired agent John Kiriakou, in an ABC News interview [ABC News video; PDF transcript part 1 & part 2], confirmed the use of waterboarding during the interrogation of top al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], one of the first key terror suspects taken into custody following Sept. 11. While Kiriakou, who led Zubaydah's interrogation, expressed some disapproval over the use of simulated drowning in interrogations, he said its efficacy in helping to disrupt "a number of attacks, maybe dozens" outweighed its harshness.
Kiriakou's comments come amid controversy surrounding the CIA's destruction of videotapes [JURIST report] of the interrogation of Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Sashiri [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The New York Times reported Tuesday that CIA lawyers had approved the destruction of the videotapes [JURIST report], despite warnings [JURIST report] from the White House and the Justice Department against that. ABC News has more. AFP has additional coverage.