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In the News The T Word

January 14, 2009

“I remember speaking to a Pentagon official, who said: 'Yeah, we gave them latitude. We wanted them to be creative.'”
Dana Priest, The Washington Post, on U.S. interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib

"We do not torture," President Bush assured the world in 2005, in response to questions raised about U.S. interrogation methods at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Now, for the first time, a senior government official has explicitly said otherwise. "We tortured al-Qahtani," Susan Crawford told Bob Woodward in The Washington Post, referring to the Guantanamo prisoner thought to have been "the 20th hijacker."

But if the official acknowledgment is news, Mohammad al-Qahtani's story is not: FRONTLINE told it three years ago, in The Torture Question.

You can see the al-Qahtani excerpt on this page, or watch the entire film by clicking here.

First, a brief bit of context from FRONTLINE's Mike Wiser, who worked on the film:

Qahtani was an important part of The Torture Question. The film documents the decisions by the top leadership in the Pentagon that led to his interrogation (what Crawford now calls "torture") and the consequences as the techniques used on him leaked into the Iraqi field of operations. What the Woodward article shows is the continuing legal ramifications of the administration's interrogation policy -- a mess we will be sorting out for a long time to come.

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