WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice verbally OK'd the CIA's request to subject alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002, a decision memorialized a few days later in a secret memo that President Barack Obama's administration declassified last week.
Rice's role was detailed in a narrative released Wednesday by the U.S. Senate intelligence committee. It provides the most detailed timeline yet for how the CIA's harsh interrogation program was conceived and approved at the highest levels in former president George W. Bush's White House.
The new timeline shows Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate armed services committee.
The narrative also shows dissenting legal views about the severe interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly.
But even the new timeline has yet to resolve the central question of who inside the Bush administration first broached the idea of using waterboarding and other brutal tactics against detainees in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The intelligence committee's timeline comes a day after the armed services committee released an exhaustive report detailing direct links between the CIA's harsh interrogation program and abuses of prisoners at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in Afghanistan and at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Both revelations follow Obama's release of internal Bush administration legal memos that justified the use of severe methods by the CIA, a move that kicked up a firestorm from opposing sides of the ideological spectrum.
A spokesman for Rice declined comment when reached Wednesday.
Days after Rice gave Tenet the nod, the U.S. Justice Department approved the use of waterboarding in a top secret Aug. 1 memo. Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding at least 83 times
in August 2002........... (continues)