"There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder," [an unnamed former senior US intelligence official] continued.It wasn't enough to learn about upcoming al-Qaida plots from those caught early in the GWoT: the maladministration needed evidence that al-Qaida was colluding with Iraq in a global anti-US conspiracy. And if the normal interrogations failed to produce that evidence (assuming normal interrogation methods were employed from the outset), then the maladministration explicitly encouraged more outrageous methods to elicit that information - even if it meant abusing detainees to the point where they'd say anything just to make the horror stop.
"Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn't any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies."
Senior administration officials, however, "blew that off and kept insisting that we'd overlooked something, that the interrogators weren't pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information," he said.
UPDATE: ThinkProgress has a point-by-point takedown on the programme here.