04/07/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Colbert: Waterboard Kiriakou, CIA Faker

John Kiriakou, the former CIA employee whose claims about waterboarding became an oft-cited defense of the torture practice, got the "Colbert Report" treatment this week.

In 2007, Kiriakou told ABC News that the waterboarding of Al-Qaida commando Abu Zubaydah produced actionable intelligence that saved American lives. But in his upcoming book "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," Kiriakou admits -- on the second-to-last page -- that he essentially didn't know what he was talking about when it came to waterboarding. Former SpyTalk blogger Jeff Stein broke news of Kiriakou's confession on

Kiriakou now rather off handedly admits that he basically made it all up.

"What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts," he writes. "I suggested that Abu Zubaydah had lasted only thirty or thirty-five seconds during his waterboarding before he begged his interrogators to stop; after that, I said he opened up and gave the agency actionable intelligence."

But never mind, he says now.

"I wasn't there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I'd heard and read inside the agency at the time."

Colbert now suggests waterbaording Kiriakou to find out if he's telling the truth and scolds Foreign Policy for not using a spoiler alert when writing about the fallen expert's confession.


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