What information did interrogators hope to get from prisoners at Guantanamo? Substantiation of the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq. McClatchy DC has the details:
A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.
“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.
“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”
Salon has more coverage of the Senate Armed Services report that the McClatchy article cites, reporting that planning for the use of torture began in 2001.
A PDF of the full report, which was declassified yesterday, is available for download.
Update: Dan Froomkin has a summary of what we learned from the report. Essentially, our government tortured prisoners for the purpose of creating propaganda to justify launching a war of aggression. Chew on that.