CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on Torture Coverup, Silencing Dissent

‘We Decided to Waterboard Each Other’

VOL: You were working undercover in Pakistan in 2002 seeking members of al Qaeda to question. You returned from there that year and someone approached you to be trained in the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques—torture. You explained you had a moral problem with the techniques and you didn’t want to. You stated in a 2013 interview with Abby Martin that you chose to move on to a different department. Yet in the now infamous ABC interview from 2007 you explained how you were educated in the ways of waterboarding and had even tested out the torture technique yourself. Can you clarify this for us?

Kiriakou: When those of us in the counterterrorism center first learned that prisoners were being waterboarded, we were kind of curious and wanted to know what it was like. And so we decided to waterboard each other. It was not authorized. It was not a part of training. We just decided to do it to each other. I thought from the very beginning that this was torture. Whether or not it left a mark, it was indeed torture.

VOL: Do you still remember what it felt like testing waterboarding as you described it in that 2007 interview?

Kiriakou: It feels like you’re drowning, you’re choking….

Watch the full conversation:

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