Former top CIA officer Jose Rodriguez spoke to CBS' 60 Minutes, defending the use of waterboarding against suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, reported NPR.
In an interview expected to air on Sunday, Rodriguez, clearly unapologetic, said, "This is an individual who probably didn't give a rat's ass about having water poured on his face.
In one of the clips released by CBS, Rodriguez said, "This program was about instilling a sense of hopelessness and despair in the terrorist, in the detainee so that he would conclude that he was better off cooperating with us."
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The interview comes just as the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release its findings after a three-year-long investigation. Reuters reported that the report is expected to find that there was little evidence to suggest that "enhanced interrogation techniques" employed by the CIA on terrorism suspects yielded any counter-terrorism breakthroughs.
Unnamed sources who were familiar with the inquiry told Reuters that the records from the Bush administration do not substantiate claims that the interrogations using methods such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation led to any vital counter-terrorism intelligence.
Waterboarding was only used on three suspects, but the other "enhanced" methods including sleep deprivation, crouching and stretching in stressful positions and being slammed against a flexible wall were acknowledged to cause severe physical stress.
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Rodriguez, who oversaw the CIA's interrogation and detention program, wrote in his book 'Hard Measures,' "I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled 'torturers' by the president of the United States," according to the Associated Press.
Rodriguez, now retired, ordered the destruction of tapes showing the waterboarding of terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri. The destruction was revealed in 2007, touching off a fierce political debate and prompting a Justice Department investigation that did not produce any charges.
In the interview, Rodriguez said, "We made some Al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. I am very secure in what we did and am very confident that what we did saved American lives," according to NPR.
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Here is a clip from the 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl, expected to air this Sunday: