Speaking to a crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday, former president George W. Bush told onlookers that his administration did in fact waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suggested that his action saved American lives.
"Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," Bush said, according to a local newspaper. "I'd do it again to save lives."
Bush's Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel orally advised the CIA on July 26, 2002, "that the use of waterboarding was" legal, and put it into writing in August of that year.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in March, 2003.
Two psychologists were paid to devise the waterboarding program, which "fake" drowned detainees in an effort to produce vital information. The United States prosecuted Japanese soldiers for doing the same thing after World War II.
The two former military officers, both psychologists, were paid $1,000 a day by the Central Intelligence Agency to supervise the torture and waterboarding of US detainees, according to a report published late Thursday.
According to current and former government officials cited by ABC News, the CIA doled out responsibility for waterboarding to a private contractor, Mitchell Jessen and Associates. Waterboarding of detainees was designed to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“safeÃ¢â‚¬Â by the two men running the firm, Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell.
But privately, military figures have disagreed. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience,Ã¢â‚¬Â one military officer was quoted as saying at the time. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are not interrogators.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two psychologistsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ waterboarding Ã¢â‚¬Å“expertiseÃ¢â‚¬Â was probably Ã¢â‚¬Å“misrepresentedÃ¢â‚¬Â and thus, there was no reason to believe it was Ã¢â‚¬Å“medically safeÃ¢â‚¬Â or effective,Ã¢â‚¬Â the authors write. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The waterboarding used on al Qaeda detainees was far more intense than the brief sessions used on U.S. military personnel in the training classes.Ã¢â‚¬Â