Some Americans are willing to overlook or justify the torture of terrorism detainees. But what if we torture the wrong person? President Bush said in 2002 that Abu Zubaydah was “al-Qaida’s chief of operations.” The CIA held him in a secret prison and waterboarded him 83 times. But officials eventually determined that Zubaydah, though a “fixer” for radical Muslim ideologues, was not a member of al-Qaida and not one of its leaders. According to a transcript of Zubaydah’s hearing that was released this week, he said that officials told him, “Sorry, we discover that you are not No. 3, not a partner, not even a fighter.”
In 2007, the Canadian government agreed to pay $9 million to a Canadian engineer who was seized by U.S. officials and taken to Syria, where he was tortured before officials realized they had the wrong man.
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