CIA Operative Amends Claims Made to ABC News

John Kiriakou says he was not present when Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded.

Jan. 27, 2010 — -- This correction was originally posted May 4, 2009:

In a December 2007 ABC News report, former CIA operative John Kiriakou said al Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah had broken after one session of waterboarding and begun answering questions from interrogators.

"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

U.S. government documents released in April 2009 indicate that Kiriakou's account that Abu Zubaydah broke after only one waterboarding session was incorrect. According to a footnote in newly released, previously classified "Top Secret" memos, the CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002 in the interrogation of Zubaydah."

Following the release of the documents, Kiriakou said: "When I spoke to ABC News in December 2007 I was aware of Abu Zubaydah being water boarded on one occasion. It was after this one occasion that he revealed information related to a planned terrorist attack. As I said in the original interview, my information was second-hand. I never participated in the use of enhanced techniques on Abu Zubaydah or on any other prisoner, nor did I witness the use of such techniques."

Update: Kiriakou has now published a book entitled "The Reluctant Spy," in which he confirms the statement he made to ABC News in 2009. Writes Kiriakou, "Now we know that that Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied."