John Kiriakou, the ex-CIA operative who rocked the torture debate back in 2007 by claiming that waterboarding swiftly drew information from Abu Zubaydah, now admits that he made it all up. Back then Kiriakou said that one waterboarding broke Zubaydah. “From that day on, he answered every question,” he told ABC. Conservatives crowed that torture worked, but since then, we’ve learned that Zubaydah was actually waterboarded 83 times and that Kirkiakou wasn't anywhere near him at the time.
Now, on the second to last page of his new book, Kiriakou says he was just passing along gossip: “I wasn’t there when the interrogations took place; instead, I relied on what I’d heard and read inside the agency,” he writes. “In retrospect, it was a valuable lesson in how the CIA uses the fine arts of deception even among its own.” A CIA spokesman tells Foreign Policy that that accusation “doesn’t make any sense.”