Abu Zubaydah, categorically, was not affiliated with al Qaeda," Mickum said. "He was never a top leader of al Qaeda because he was never a member and he openly disagreed with the militaristic policies of al Qaeda. The camp he is alleged to have been involved with was closed in 2000 -- two years before his capture -- because the emir who oversaw it refused to allow it to fall under the control of al Qaeda. Thus, he is not, and never was, the man that the Bush administration made him out to be -- someone who orchestrated terrorist attacks."
Mickum went on: "And no one is disputing these facts anymore. So, my question to Mr. Thiessen is this: If Abu Zubaydah wasn't a member of al Qaeda, and not in the position to know about al Qaeda's operations, what does that say about the quality of the information obtained using these enhanced techniques -- or to use the precise term, torture? And what does that tell him about the intel that led to his capture in the first place?"
And based upon what Mickum knows -- and can divulge -- about the legal filings in the case, it would seem that the government is, indeed, not contesting the fact that Abu Zubaydah was not a member of al Qaeda.
I asked Mickum what he made of Thiessen's recent claim that he had thanked his torturers and credited them with lifting a "moral burden" from his conscience. "No. That's categorically untrue. Abu Zubaydah has never apologized to or thanked his interrogators. Quite the opposite, actually."
I also asked Mickum about what is known to have taken place in interrogations, based upon the information that was provided to the 9/11 Commission. I shared with him the timeline that was established by Marcy Wheeler, after painstaking study of the commission's report. As you might expect, he did not dispute Wheeler's underlying premise -- that the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah did not yield valuable intelligence. However, he was adamant that the timeline was wrong, that Abu Zubaydah was being tortured well in advance of August 31, 2002 -- the date established in the 9/11 Report as when waterboarding began. Mickum contends that torture began much earlier.HUFFINGTON POST: Let me get this straight. You are saying that between the date of Abu Zubaydah's capture, which was March 28, 2002, and July 24, 2002, the date on which the CIA was said to have first received oral guidance on enhanced interrogation techniques from Jay Bybee, Abu Zubaydah was subjected to torture?
MICKUM: That's correct.
Now we all should be doing touchdown dances over this but we can't. The reason being is that it no longer matter what the truth is because our mainstream media sucks ass. No matter what Mickum says, Marc Thiessen will continue to have a platform at the Washington Post to spread as much unsourced incorrect bullshit as he likes to his hearts desire. And his boss Fred Hiatt will repeatedly be recognized as a high ranking liberal despite it all.