MI5 would have acted on the intelligence gained by waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the September 11 attacks, even if they had known how it was gained, sources say.
A security source has told the Daily Telegraph that the intelligence gained saved lives and as such, they were obliged to use it.
In most cases they are not aware of the source of the information they are given by foreign intelligence agencies, and where they are aware, they are rarely told about how it was obtained.
Nevertheless, they are obliged to act on it where it could save lives, sources say.
One of the key details to have come from the US interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was his reference to a man called Esa al-Britani – a man later identified as the terrorist Dhiren Barot.
It remains unclear whether this information was gained after the waterboarding.
Barot, from Willesden, North West London, was planning an attack on hotels in London using gas canisters packed into limousines in a plot he called the “gas limos project.”
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, who was the director general of MI5 at the time of Mohammed’s arrest, told a meeting on Tuesday that she did not realise Mohammed was being tortured.
“I said to my staff, ‘Why is he talking?’ because our experience of Irish prisoners and terrorist was that they never said anything.
“They said the Americans say he is very proud of his achievements when questioned about it. It wasn’t actually until after I retired that I read that in fact he had been waterboarded more thah 163 times.”
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