Argument: Claims about effectiveness of enhanced interrogations are dubious
"The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum...The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."
"The reported West Coast plot had been disclosed before but never in as much detail. The president's speech came on the same day as a Senate hearing into the Bush-ordered warrantless surveillance of telephone calls and e-mail by Americans and their contacts overseas, but aides said his comments were not related to the dispute over the program.
White House officials, who were unwilling to publicly disclose details of the alleged plot as recently as last fall, said they decided in the past three weeks to declassify the case so that Bush could have an example to provide the public.
But several U.S. intelligence officials played down the relative importance of the alleged plot and attributed the timing of Bush's speech to politics. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize the White House, said there is deep disagreement within the intelligence community over the seriousness of the Library Tower scheme and whether it was ever much more than talk."