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CIA Director Confirms Details of Waterboarding

In the life of the CIA detention program, we have held fewer than 100 people. And actually, fewer than one-third of those people have had any techniques used against them, enhanced techniques, in the CIA program....

Let me make it very clear and to state so officially in front of this committee that waterboarding has been used on only three detainees. It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on Nashiri.

The CIA has not used waterboarding for almost five years. We used it against these three high-value detainees because of the circumstances of the time. Very critical to those circumstances was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were imminent.

In addition to that, my agency and our community writ large had limited knowledge about Al Qaida and its workings. Those two realities have changed.

None of us up here are going to make the claim -- and I'm sure we'll get this question before we're done this morning -- is America safe. And we'll answer it is safer, but it is not yet safe. So this one never gets to zero.
But the circumstances under which we are operating, we believe, are, frankly, different than they were in late 2001 and early 2002. We also have much more extensive knowledge of Al Qaida.

And I've told this to the committee in other sessions -- our most powerful tool in questioning any detainee is our knowledge, that we are able to bring that knowledge to bear.