The following is a transcript of notes taken at the interrogation of Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. It was released by the C.I.A. at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the president.
1. Ha! Is this waterboard supposed to scare me? You think I don’t know that you are constrained by U.S. and international law from ever actually …
2. Hey! What the [redacted]?!
3. No, seriously. What the [redacted]?!
4. You’re Americans! Who do you think you are? Us?
5. You can’t do this! Show me the authorization for you to do this!
6. Wow. O.K., technically, you can do this. Although the quality of the legal work in these memos is shoddy at …
7. Enough! I beg of you! Stop the torture!
8. O.K., fine. Then stop the “enhanced technique!”
9. Please! For the love of God, I can’t take any more of this harsh treatment which does not rise to the level of torture!
10. Could you loosen my left medieval iron shackle? It’s digging in.
11. You’re not even doing it right! You have to tilt the head forward so that the victim’s throat is …
12. Fine! Fine! Do it your way! But don’t blame me if I don’t experience the unspeakable horror of my own imminent death.
13. Is that a video camera?
14. It is! You’re filming this?
15. Wait—am I being Punk’d? Ashton? Really, Ashton …
16. Are you going to post this on the Web? Because I can hook you up with the guy who does our online work.
17. You’re wasting your time! I already told those F.B.I. guys everything I know!
18. I’m telling you, I don’t know anything else!
19. I don’t know anything!
20. I don’t know anything!
21. I don’t know anything!
22. Would you tell that bald guy in the corner to stop grinning?
23. Still don’t know anything.
24. Reply hazy, try again.
25. Ask again later.
26. Better not tell you now.
27. Cannot predict now.
28. Concentrate and ask again.
31. Drawing a blank.
32. Honestly, I’d love to help, but …
33. Nothing is springing immediately to mind.
34. Thirty-fourth time’s a charm?
35. I get it. Waterboard me once, shame on you. Waterboard me 35 times, shame on …
36. For the last time, I don’t know anything!
37. O.K.! O.K.! I do know things! Lots of things! Like Osama Bin Laden … loves … yogurt.
38. Actually, he’s a vegan! He takes a lot of ribbing for it from the guys …
39. No good? O.K., listen. There is a ticking time bomb in Grand Central Station! If you hurry you can stop it!
40. How should I know where? Just listen until you hear the ticking!
41. Well, you put me on the spot! Give me a few minutes, I’ll come up with something more plausible.
42. O.K., fine. Fine. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. What do you want to know?
43. Never mind. I’ll guess. You want to know about … a plot.
44. An operation!
45. A conspiracy?
46. An intrigue!
47. An infiltration!
48. A dust-up! A brouhaha! A kerfuffle!
49. For the love of God, give me a hint!
50. A finger? Why is the bald guy holding up a …
51. One finger … one finger … First word! First word! Three syllables!
52. Two syllables! Sorry—my vision is a little blurry. First syllable … frown! Frowning!
57. Sad! Sad? Yes! Second syllable … ear!
58. Crap! Sounds like! Sounds like! Sounds like … oink?
59. Pig? Sounds like pig?
60. Eating pig! Pork!
65. Ham! Ham! Sounds like ham! Sad Ham! Sad ham?
66. SADDAM! Saddam Hussein! It’s Saddam Hussein! So what about him?
67. O.K. … nine fingers. Ten fingers.
68. Eleven! Nine. Eleven … Twenty?
69. Wait. I got it! Nine-eleven! You want me to implicate Saddam Hussein in the attacks of 9/11? But that’s ridiculous. Osama and Saddam never so much as …
70. You know, now that you mention it, I think I may remember a telegram …
71. Phone conversation …
72. Email exchanges …
73. Series of coffees?
74. Lunch on the verandah of the Basra Palace!
75. Fantasy football league!
76. They were lovers! Saddam and Osama were lovers!
77. O.K.! Enough! I’ll tell you everything! The truth is, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were engaged in a high-level operational relationship to coordinate the transfer of conventional weapons …
78. Chemical weapons …
79. Biological weapons …
80. Nuclear weapons? You expect anyone to believe …
81. But Saddam didn’t have any …
82. … nuclear weapons to terrorists who intended to use them to destroy a major American city and were saved by the brave actions of your American president, George Bush! We good?