Abu Zubaydah was the first “high-value” detainee who was tortured, as the U.S. claimed he was a top Al Qaeda terrorist who knew a lot about 9/11.
He was waterboarded at least 83 times in August 2002 alone.
In fact, Abu Zubaydah was one of the main sources of information for the 9/11 report.
Never mind that he was literally crazy. As the New Yorker noted a year ago:
The F.B.I.’s point man on the Abu Zubaydah interrogation, Daniel Coleman, had read Zubaydah’s diaries and concluded that he “had a schizophrenic personality.”
Indeed, the Washington Post noted in 2007:
Retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman, who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida’s capture in early 2002 and worked on the case, said the CIA’s harsh tactics cast doubt on the credibility of Abu Zubaida’s information.
“I don’t have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted,” Coleman said, referring to the harsh measures. “He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn’t believe him. The problem is they didn’t realize he didn’t know all that much.”
Abu Zubaida … was a “safehouse keeper” with mental problems who claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did.
Looking at other evidence, including a serious head injury that Abu Zubaida had suffered years earlier, Coleman and others at the FBI believed that he had severe mental problems that called his credibility into question. “They all knew he was crazy, and they knew he was always on the damn phone,” Coleman said, referring to al-Qaeda operatives. “You think they’re going to tell him anything?”
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind writes that Coleman advised a top FBI official at the time:
“This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.”
Now, Jason Leopold reports that the government is backing away from all claims that Abu Zubaydah had any role in Al Qaeda or 9/11:
For the first time, the government officially admitted that Zubaydah did not have “any direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” and was neither a “member” of al-Qaeda nor “formally” identified with the terrorist organization.
Heck of a job, guys.