Extracts below. You can see the full story here
...The man who ran the interrogation program was Jose Rodriguez, a CIA spy in Latin America, who rose to become head of the Clandestine Service, the CIA's dark side.What specifically were war crimes? Lesley I think we call this a straw man argument. It indicates weakness.
Lesley Stahl: You had no qualms? We used to consider some of them war crimes.
Jose Rodriguez: We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms...Thank you Mr Rodriguez. I love a man who tells a woman who is feigning outrage to rhetorically “Drop Dead”.
...Jose Rodriguez: We were flooded with intelligence about an imminent attack. That al Qaeda had an anthrax program, and that they were planning to use it against us. And that they were seeking nuclear materials to use in some type of nuclear weapon. So we were facing a ticking, time bomb situation and we were very concerned.
Lesley Stahl: So you were getting pressure from Congress and the White House to take the gloves off. Did you go to the dark side?
Jose Rodriguez: Well, the dark side, that's what we do.
Lesley Stahl: You are the dark side.
Jose Rodriguez: We are the dark side.
Yes Lesley he is the adult side, who does things that may not be something comfortable to discuss openly but we need men like Mr. Rodriguez handing our country’s dirty work.
His first big operation came after the capture of a Palestinian, thought then to have high level al Qaeda connections, named Abu Zubaydah when he was taken prisoner in Pakistan in the spring of 2002, Abu Zubaydah was badly injured in a firefight.Yes Lesley, you get relatively little from a dead man. They don’t seem to wanna talk much after they assume room temperature.
Jose Rodriguez: He actually was on the verge of dying. So we brought in a surgeon from the U.S. to help him out.
Lesley Stahl: You brought in a top-rate surgeon from Johns Hopkins?
Jose Rodriguez: Yes, the best that we could find.
Lesley Stahl: You save him so you can squeeze everything out of his brain that you can?
Jose Rodriguez: So we could elicit intelligence that would allow us to keep our country safe. So we took him to a black site.
...Jose Rodriguez: If there was going to be another attack against the U.S., we would have blood on our hands because we would not have been able to extract that information from him. So we started to talk about an alternative set of interrogation procedures.Lesley in my last exercise at Fort Huachuca AZ in 1988 I went four days on four sleep. I guess the Army tortured me right?
Lesley Stahl: So you're the one who went looking for something to break this guy.
Jose Rodriguez: Yes. And let me tell you something, you know, because years later the 9/11 Commission accused, or said that 9/11 was a failure of imagination. Well, there was no lack of imagination on the part of the CIA in June 2002. We were looking for different ways of doing this.
His search led him to a former military psychologist who had helped train American soldiers in how to resist torture if they were captured. The psychologist adapted the brutal tactics of our Cold War adversaries into what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques." A team of interrogators -- about six of them -- was given a two-week training course and while Jose Rodriguez himself never engaged in any of the sessions with detainees, he supervised the program.
Lesley Stahl: Did the psychologist, did he tell you how long it was going to take, if you use these techniques, to break Abu Zubaydah and anybody else that you might capture?
Jose Rodriguez: You know, he had speculated that within 30 days we would probably be able to get the information that we wanted, yes.
But before moving forward, Jose Rodriguez got his superiors, right up to the president - to sign off on a set of those techniques, including waterboarding....
...Lesley Stahl: How does the water boarding that you engaged in, how did that work?
Jose Rodriguez: The detainee was strapped to an inclined board with his feet up so that no water would go--
Lesley Stahl: So his head was back.
Jose Rodriguez: So his head was back. And a cloth was placed over the mouth and nose. And water was applied to it.
Lesley Stahl: Oh he couldn't breathe through his nose.
Jose Rodriguez: So when he was saturated, then the air flow would be stopped.
Lesley Stahl: And he'd have the sensation of drowning.
Jose Rodriguez: And he would have the sensation.
Lesley Stahl: And was he naked?
Jose Rodriguez: In many cases, nudity was used extensively. And it worked well.
Lesley Stahl: Why is nudity effective?
Jose Rodriguez: It is effective because a lot of people feel very vulnerable when they're nude. And also because of the culture. Nudity, it is not something that is common.
Each step they took was specifically spelled out in the Justice Department memo. For instance, uncooperative detainees could be put in a small, dark: "cramped confinement box with an insect" in it. As for waterboarding, the interrogators were allowed to pour water for up to 40 seconds at a time... quote applied "from a height of 12 to 24 inches"... using about a liter of water per session.
After Abu Zubaydah was subjected to the CIA's menu of interrogation techniques, Jose Rodriguez says he became compliant in less than three weeks.
Lesley StahlWas it waterboarding that broke the dam with Abu Zubaydah?
Jose Rodriguez: I think he was more taken aback by the insult slap.
Lesley Stahl: Oh, what's the insult slap?
Jose Rodriguez: It's just slapping somebody with an open hand so that you don't hurt 'em.
Lesley Stahl: By "hurt," you mean you don't break his jaw?
Jose Rodriguez: We don't break his jaw. And the objective is not to inflict pain. The objective is to let him know there's a new sheriff in town, and he better pay attention.
Lesley Stahl: You also employed stress techniques?
Jose Rodriguez: Uh-huh. There was a technique where the detainee would sit on the floor and would raise his hands over his head.
Lesley Stahl: In other words, he had to hold his hands up there forever and ever, right?
Jose Rodriguez: Forever & ever? I was thinkin' about this the other day. The objective was to induce muscle fatigue, and most people who work out do a lot more fatiguing of the muscles....
...Lesley Stahl: Yeah.
Central to the interrogation was sleep deprivation. Abu Zubaydah was also kept awake for three straight days.
Jose Rodriguez: Sleep deprivation works. I'm sure, Lesley, with all the traveling that you do, that you have suffered from jet lag. And you know, when you don't get a good night's sleep for two, three days, it's very hard.
Lesley Stahl: Now, you don't really mean to suggest that it's like jet lag. I mean, you make it sound like it's benign when you say stuff like that.
Jose Rodriguez: Well, I mean, the feeling--
Lesley Stahl: And you go into the gym and jet lag--
fJose Rodriguez: Well, the feeling that you get when you don't sleep.
...In total, the CIA picked up about 100 detainees, subjected 75 of them to harsh interrogation techniques - three of them to waterboarding, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - or KSM, the mastermind of 9/11. When KSM was first captured in 2003, he was in no mood to talk.Hey Lesley he’s humiliated. He’s also alive. And after he was instrumental in killing 3000 people on 911 I’m really not concerned much about his modesty.
Jose Rodriguez: Oh, he was not going to talk. I mean, Khalid Sheik Mohammed is one of the toughest killers out there.
Lesley Stahl: I heard he was brilliant.
Jose Rodriguez: He was brilliant. He was scary smart. But he's also evil. And he will use that intelligence to define different ways of coming after us.
He says that in the beginning, KSM would respond to questions by reciting verses from the Koran.
Jose Rodriguez: He eventually told us, "Well look, I will talk once I get to New York and I get my lawyer." He knew that if he got into the criminal process in the U.S. that he would get a lawyer and he would use that forum.
Lesley Stahl: He'd use it as a platform for his ideology.
Jose Rodriguez: He would use it as a platform.
Faced with KSM's obstinance, CIA interrogators began ratcheting up the severity of the questioning step-by-step.
Lesley Stahl: Did you make him wear diapers?
Jose Rodriguez: Diapers? I don't recall specifically to him. But diapers is something that is approved.
Lesley Stahl: It's so humiliating.
Jose Rodriguez: It's standard. Standard. Yeah.
According to an internal investigation by the CIA's own inspector general - this is a heavily redacted declassified copy. KSM was denied sleep for 180 hours in a row or about seven and a half days. And still he didn't break.Yes Lesley, we do. Generally it’s not discussed much in such an open source but we do do stuff like this.
Jose Rodriguez: He was the toughest detainee that we had. No doubt.
So he was subjected to waterboarding, specifically 183 "pourings" of water in about half a dozen separate sessions. Jose Rodriguez said the average pour lasted10 seconds.
Jose Rodriguez: Can I say something about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? He's the one that was responsible for the death of Danny Pearl, the Wall Street reporter. He slit his throat in front of a camera. I don't know what type of man it takes to cut the throat of someone in front of you like that, but I can tell you that this is an individual who probably didn't give a rat's ass about having water poured on his face.
Lesley Stahl: He never believed for one second you were going to kill him.
Jose Rodriguez: No. And let me just tell you. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would use his fingers to count the number of seconds, because he knew that in all likelihood, we would stop at 10. So this doesn't sound like a person who is afraid of dying.
Lesley Stahl: If he's sitting there counting off, he knows you're not going to kill him. He knows he's not going to drown. Then why do it? What's the point?
Jose Rodriguez: Well, I think that the cumulative effect of waterboarding and sleep deprivation and everything else that was done eventually got to him.
Lesley Stahl: So what happens? Does he break down? Does he weep? Does he fall apart?
Jose Rodriguez: No. He gets a good night's sleep. He gets his Ensure. By the way, he was very heavy when he came to us and he lost 50 pounds. So--
Lesley Stahl: What his Ensure? You mean like people in the hospital who drink that stuff?
Jose Rodriguez: Yes. Dietary manipulation was part of these-- our techniques.
Lesley Stahl: So sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation. I mean, this is Orwellian stuff. The United States doesn't do that.
Jose Rodriguez: Well, we do.
...Lesley Stahl: Mock executions. People threatened with power drills.Mr Rodrigues I believe you do. The people running the foreign policy of this country are morons. And it’s showing. If Bill Casey or Bill Donovan were running the CIA we would have people alive to interrogate.
Jose Rodriguez: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: People told that, that you were gonna go and hurt their children, rape their wives.
Jose Rodriguez: Stupid things that were done by people who had no authority to do that.
Lesley Stahl: And they just took it on themselves.
Jose Rodriguez: Correct. And we found out about it and we self-reported, and actually called in the I.G. and said, "You better take a look at what these people did and do what you need to do."
Lesley Stahl: You have some people out there who were taken to black sites. They were subjected to terrible treatment. And they hadn't done anything. I mean they were taken mistakenly. They disappeared. What about them?
Jose Rodriguez: No doubt when you are involved in complicated covert action programs like this one, that some mistakes will be made.
Jose Rodriguez retired from the CIA in January 2008. He has spent the last year writing his book, published by the CBS company Simon and Schuster. In the book he says that by canceling the interrogation program, President Obama has tied the government's hands in the war on terror.
Jose Rodriguez: We don't capture anybody any more, Lesley. You know their default option of this Administration has been to kill all prisoners. Take no prisoners.
Lesley Stahl: The drones.
Jose Rodriguez: The drones. How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them. I never understood that one.
Lesley Stahl: President Obama has said that what we did was torture.Lesley, reference Mr Obama, see my comment on foreign policy. He’s a fool. And although I have immense respect for what Captain McCain endured in the Hanoi Hilton Senator McCain is wrong on this. The enhanced interrogation techniques of the CIA are not torture. Thanks to the interrogations of the Hanoi Hilton Senator McCain can’t raise his hands very high. The men coming from Club Gitmo are actually in better shape then after a year there.
Jose Rodriguez: Well, President Obama is entitled to his opinion. When President Obama condemns the covert action activities of a previous government, he is breaking the covenant that exists between intelligence officers who are at the pointy end of the spear, hanging way out there, and the government that authorized them and directed them to go there.
Lesley Stahl: John McCain. A huge critic of this program. He had been tortured, so we know where he's coming from. Here's what he said: "It's killing us that America will sink to the level of its worst enemies. We forfeited our values," he said. And I guess what I wanna ask is, didn't it actually change who we are? What we think we're about? I mean, we think we-- we're the country that doesn't do that. Right?
Jose Rodriguez: I am very secure in, in what we did and I am very confident that what we did saved American lives.
Mr Rodrigquez’s book will be on my Amazon list tomorrow. From an intel geek to an intel stud, well done bro. Your country owes you.