A former CIA official who previously said waterboarding was an effective means of interrogation, and referred to a specific incident regarding an Al Qaeda operative, now admits he has no firsthand knowledge of the technique or its effectiveness. In 2007, John Kiriakou, in a widely publicized interview said that 30-35 seconds of the technique was enough to crack terrorists, and provide the CIA with valuable information.
Kiriakou, in a his new book, says "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." Kiriakou also notes the Al Qaeda operative was waterboarded 83 times in a one month period, and openly questions whether the information obtained was truly valuable.
While the US government has taken steps to eliminate waterboarding, Kiriakou’s recantation casts doubt on whether the technique ever should have been approved in the first place.
CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding | Foreign Policy