insects should be used for good not evil

Was CIA Fire-Ant Torture Nut Just Telling Lies?

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The supect *was* interrogated in a mile-deep catacomb...Hmm, here is a possible scoop from your Department of Rumor, Speculation, and Innuendo: a CIA supervisor just back from Baghdad was reportedly hanging out at a bar in Camp Peary, Virginia, where he got super loaded and started talking crazy talk about putting fire ants on some Al Qaeda guy’s head to “break him.”

Now, this wild tale sort of vaguely squares with the Bybee memo saying you could put insects in boxes with detainees, to scare them, as long as the insects didn’t actually DO anything too mean. But we’ve got some logistical questions about this fire-ant plot.

Sources say the supervisor bragged loudly that he had used fire ants to torment an al Qaeda suspect to get him to talk. As one version of the evening has it, he bragged of putting the stinging bugs in a helmet and then putting the helmet on the detainee.

So, number one, do fire ants even live in Baghdad or wherever this interrogation allegedly took plaec? Number two, if they do, how do you persuade a whole bunch of fire ants to hop aboard a helmet and then carry the helmet over to wherever this prisoner is being held and put the helmet on the guy without getting covered in fire ants yourself? Number three, if you are going to pull a fire ant prank, why the hell would it involve helmets instead of boxer shorts?

Doesn’t add up. The point is that this CIA is a sadist for even thinking of such an “interrogation technique,” as anybody who has ever gotten near a fire ant knows those things sting like a bitch.

CIA Supervisor Claimed He Used Fire Ants On Detainee [Huffington Post]

About the author

Sara K. Smith was Wonkette's morning editor from 2008 to 2010, and now contributes a weekly (?!) column to Wonkette, to prove she still loves you all!

View all articles by Sara K. Smith


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • Hawaiiexpat

    Jeebus H. Christmas.

    It appears that CIA personnel are getting their ideas from 1970s-vintage Mad Magazines.

  • blader

    sounds PRECISELY like something Zxaney would devise

  • snideinplainsight

    If they really, REALLY want to torture someone, they should force them to watch confirmation hearings for a week.

  • magic titty

    You’re supposed to put the ants in their pants, dickhead. Because it rhymes.

  • The Sea Farmer

    “…how do you persuade a whole bunch of fire ants to hop aboard a helmet and then carry the helmet over to wherever this prisoner is being held and put the helmet on the guy without getting covered in fire ants yourself?”

    if they are anything like my wife, a glass of chardonnay and promises of backrubs later.

    wokka wokka i’ll be here all week


  • AliBabaInBA

    It takes a vicious and unhinged mind to even consider placing
    fire ants in any guy’s boxers — suspected terrorist or not.
    You might have missed your true calling, Sara.

  • Smoke Filled Roommate

    …and after we put the earwigs in his ears, we got a cloud of gnats, after the gnats came the mosquitoes, then the silverfish…

  • ivenson

    “He’s a bullshitter.”

    Oh, well then, now I’m not at all worried that we are using insect life as part of our interrogation techniques.

    I am, however, worried that we have high level CIA personnel who are casually referred to as known liars by their peers. That part worries me a little.

  • Barry White Zombie

    I’m just trying to decide if this bar inside Camp Peary would be an interesting place to hang out or full of assholes. Or both.

  • Cape Clod

    I aways gets a sad when James Whitmore dies while saving the little boy from the giant ant.

  • Crapola

    Thank God we have Republicans thinking ten steps ahead of the rest of us. By proposing legislation to prevent the creation of ManBearPig, they have also helped us to avoid the menace of Mant being unleased upon those freeloading Muslin Gitmo squatters.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Who the hell does this guy think he is? Khan Noonian Singh?

  • Monsieur Grumpe

    Just tie him up naked outside on a nice summer evening in Minnesota. The mosquitoes will have him talking in 5 minutes if they haven’t carried him off to their lair.

  • bureaucrap

    The creatures in that poster remind me of someone I used to date.

  • Crapola

    Oh, and why do these fucking giant ants always gotta cock block by snatching the hot chicks? Some of us are having enough trouble getting laid as it is without you fuckers turning the damned planet into one big sausage fest.

  • hobospacejunkie

    Fireants? Painful, yes, but nothing combines a painful sting with sheer creepiness as does that sin against nature the scorpion. I would tell interragators whatever they wanted to hear (not know) just to get away from scorpions. In fact, I’m afraid to get in my own bed after one laid in wait for me under my pillow last week and stung me. MOTHERFUCKER that hurt, and creeped me the fuck out.

  • snideinplainsight

    [re=363806]magic titty[/re]: Oh they don’t wear pants on the other side of France… (I could never actually find that on a map when I looked for it.)

  • norbizness

    Thank God we’re getting all of the psychologically shaky people herded into the armed forces, or else there would be a whole shitload of stray cats being killed for fun right here in the states. What, they’re coming back?

    Manchu, you bastard, I had my Paul Winfield reference all queued up.

  • norbizness

    [re=363827]hobospacejunkie[/re]: For me it’s the Pauly Shore movie “Jury Duty.”

  • rereridiculous

    [re=363802]Hawaiiexpat[/re]: What, me torture?

  • finallyhappy

    [re=363827]hobospacejunkie[/re]: I’ve had a golden retriever and a yellow lab try to hide out in my bed- but never a scorpion. I’m pretty sure are scorpion free(of the insect sort) in the DC area.

  • Terry


    Maybe, but a real bullshitter would have come up with a more heroic and conventionally believeable story. I’d bet that this guy got plastered and bragged about real things he did. Sadistic, evil, nasty, crap that he did and in which he took pride.

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363815]Crapola[/re]: It’s too late. ManBearPig is real. Half Man, half BearPig. Or is it half Bear, half ManPig. Whichever, it is here and it is real. I’m suoer serial.

  • McDuff

    [re=363815]Crapola[/re]: I thought Vice Presidential Action Ranger Al Gore already save us from ManBearPig.

  • Crapola

    [re=363828]snideinplainsight[/re]: I’ve been trying to find the hole in the wall to watch that shit since third grade. I’m starting to think that maybe it doesn’t really exist.

  • dum librul

    He’s lying. He didn’t begin a single sentence with “it’s been pretty well confirmed…”

  • ivenson

    [re=363827]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Hobo, have you talked to your therapist about this scorpion thing?

  • SayItWithWookies

    Ummm — considering what the CIA has brushed under the carpet in the past, it’s weird that someone’s getting all exercised over a few damn fire ants. So they’re pathological liars and big sissies, is that the picture? If Congress doesn’t think these idiots need more oversight, they’re — oh geeze, we’re doomed.

  • ivenson

    [re=363836]Terry[/re]: Yah, but it is just glorious that the official explanation includes “Pay no attention to this man who helped forge our enhanced interrogation techniques. Believe nothing he says, he’s a loony fabricator!”

  • Crapola

    [re=363838]McDuff[/re]: I thought it was Butters who saved us with the power of his imagination. Either way, this story is distracting us from the real issue, which is: Where is Nobama’a birth certificate?

  • trickyrick

    Dont they have some sort of gruesome sand spider there?

    Cant find fire ants in the Middle East, only South America, Australia, China, Phillipines…?

  • Terry


    I caught that, too. Scary and bush league.

  • CrunchyKnee

    Fire ant helmets are just harmless fraternity pranks, you know like naked pyramids and dog leashes.

  • Keram2

    [re=363819]ManchuCandidate[/re]: Dammit. Beaten to the punch.


  • trickyrick

    [re=363845]Crapola[/re]: And what will Joe the Plumber say to Meagan McCabe after she said he was a dumb ass?

  • Kingbee

    [re=363827]hobospacejunkie[/re]: On the other hand, “Scorpion Climbs Ice Mountain” (fried Scorpions on a heap of rice noodles) is a Chinese delicacy. I don’t know of anyone who eats fire ants (although the Chinese will be the first in the buffet line, if that happens).

  • Rumproast

    Liar, liar, fire ants on … ummm … fire.

  • The Dallas Office

    Do scorpions like beds or something? When I was 16, I got in bed, felt something against my leg, threw back the covers and there was a scorpion. Nope, not quite over it yet.

  • Gopherit

    I believe we have a resident entymologist somewhere who can answer your questions, Sara. All I can say is it’s nice to know that the standard torture kit for the CIA includes fire ants. Those guys in the Tech Division think of EVERYTHING.

  • El Pinche

    Who really needs a giant dick slap is crazy warmonger lesbian Liz Cheney. She’s an apologizing sack of shit who doesn’t want to see her daddy sent to the Hague.

  • Elm Hugger

    We need to cancel the SciFi Channel (or however they spell it now) at Langley. If we don’t then giant grasshoppers will start to eat everything in Iran just like in “the beginning of end”. Then the Praying Mantis gets there.

  • El Pinche

    [re=363860]The Dallas Office[/re]: I always check the toilet before I sit on it now. One day a scorpion crawled onto my balls. Luckily he jumped and stung my leg instead. It was a horrific scrotal experience.


  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363841]ivenson[/re]: My therapist & I will get to scorpions as soon as we’ve conquered bed-wetting. Which may or may not be caused by scorpions, but sure is creeping out my wife.

  • zenferret

    [re=363866]El Pinche[/re]: Mary is the Lez. Liz has a dick just like Daddy.

  • zenferret

    [re=363871]Elm Hugger[/re]: I believe it’s spelled SyFilis.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=363873]hobospacejunkie[/re]: I had the same problem; then I cut back to a only a 12-pack before bedtime.

    Also: the manbearpig? It’s half man, half bear and half pig. I thought everybody knew that.

  • Pickle

    Well I for one welcome our new fire-ant overlords.

  • A Better American Than YOU

    The invasive fire ant species in the American South is the South American “Argentine fire ant.” The technical term for Mark Sanford’s foray onto the Pampas might be “Formicaphilia” — which is weird even by South Carolina standards — or else he was on research mission for the CIA.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    Speaking of stinging bugs, I knocked down a hornets’ nest about the size of a cantaloupe last Sunday. In my haste to get away from the immediately ensuing firestorm of stinging avengers, I fell and sprained my ankle.

    Moral of the story? Them bugs is sure sneaky.

  • WadISay

    Tie the al Qaeda guys down and ask them repeatedly if they’re wise Latinas. Are ya? Huh? Are ya?

  • Middy da Poo

    [re=363847]trickyrick[/re]: And Alabama….don’t forget Alabama.

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363911]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: To get rid of a nest surprise them around dawn when they are slow. Apply liberal amounts of smoke so they’ll leave the nest, then tear it down. Works like a charm. Also doesn’t kill ’em (they’re a good bad bug predator) plus no chemicals involved. Also no sprained ankles.

  • natoslug

    [re=363911]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: If you want fun with hornets (well, yellowjackets, in this case), fire up a riding mower and park it over the entrance to their underground nest, blades swirling. It’s a great method to find out where their second entrance is. And to discover how high a tolerance you have for face stings. Mine’s rather low, it turns out.

  • GreatOldOnesParty

    [re=363907]A Better American Than YOU[/re]: “Formicaphilia”?

  • natoslug

    [re=363937]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Yes, but it’s nowhere near as entertaining for your children as turning a hose on the nest mid-day and then running for your life across a toy-strewn yard as the wasps all rush out to defend their home.

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363952]natoslug[/re]: It does sound rather entertaining, for spectators.

  • theVestedWombat

    At least these ants, unlike waterboarding, do not waste precious natural resources. I for one applaud the CIA for going green.

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363952]natoslug[/re]: Also, if you destroy all the predators on your property don’t be surprised if Manbearpig sets up shop outside your back door. Nature balances itself rather delicately, and god help you should that balance be upset.

  • Extemporanus

    [re=363827]hobospacejunkie[/re]: [re=363872]El Pinche[/re]: You two should consider yourselves lucky.

    Back in ’82, a group of scorpions put a diaper on my head and stuck forks in my eyes until I blacked out.

  • Autochthon

    [re=363937]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Just keep ’em outta your bed, tho…

  • Extemporanus

    [re=363964]theVestedWombat[/re]: I think you just inadvertently hit upon the most logical explanation: We used waterboarding to put out the fire ants.

    Allahu Smokey Akbear!

  • S.Luggo

    The ants come from Dick Cheney’s private stock. Plus they can perform tricks, like eating a baby alive in 10 minutes. Dick has the videos.

  • natoslug

    [re=363972]hobospacejunkie[/re]: I’ve been good the past few years. As long as the hornets, wasps and yellowjackets ignore me, I’ve been ignoring them. That said, every once in a while, I come across a nest of something vicious and generally start to fight back before thinking things through. It keeps the kids entertained, which I suppose is a good thing. Since this is a torture thread, I think an effective way to get any sort of confession would be to drip sugar water on a detainee’s penis, and then release a bunch of yellowjackets into the room. You’ll uncover the secrets of the universe right quick.

  • Zorg

    Whenever I want to get a Muslin to talk, I lay out a foot-long rail of Peruvian marching powder and a rolled-up hundred dollar bill. The hard part is gettin’ ’em to shut up.

  • Zorg

    [re=363937]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Scorpions are just a part of the full spectrum Texian experience, along with Baptists and tornados. Show some regional pride!

  • Paul Tardy

    Sounds like a Tarantino movie, you know the new one co written by Dick Cheney and John Yoo, esq. The one about torturing and killing (non) people, inborious splat-terds. It better be a great flick as I am not going to drop $10/per person for crappy propaganda (the NY Times for example).

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=363998]Zorg[/re]: Ha! When it comes to scorpions I’m a regional fairy. Those things belong in El Paso (where another one stung my wife in bed the first time we stayed at her parents’ home) not 13 miles south of downtown Austin.

    [re=363987]natoslug[/re]: an effective way to get any sort of confession would be to drip sugar water on a detainee’s penis, and then release a bunch of yellowjackets into the room

    I shudder to think what else goes on inside that warped mind of yours.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=363937]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Apply liberal amounts of smoke so they’ll leave the nest, then tear it down. Works like a charm. Also doesn’t kill ‘em (they’re a good bad bug predator)

    Sorry, when it comes to hornets, all I want to do is kill ’em. You’ve got your scorpion trauma, I’ve got a childhood’s worth of bad experiences growing up in the woods with hornets. They are the enemy, man. In this case, I didn’t discover the nest until I started scraping out a curtain drain along my carport with a shovel. Just that little bit of vibration to their nest, about 30 feet away, had them swarming and dive-bombing my head. Scared the bejezus out of me.

  • hockeymom

    [re=363952]natoslug[/re]: Or when your husband knocks down a wasps nest with a large pole….only to have it land on his head.

  • binarian

    OOooo Good Star Trek reference, Manchu.

  • natoslug

    [re=364009]hobospacejunkie[/re]: I was the child of hippies, and spent a good part of my early years naked. It took decades to overcome memories of a traumatic group-of-wasps/innocent-foreskin incident and accept stinging things as something I can coexist with. My head’s pretty unwarped as long as you don’t offer me tofu, goats’ milk or let a wasp come within three feet of my groin.

  • I Am Not Your Gary Busey

    This isn’t Baghdad…


  • theVestedWombat

    [re=363982]Extemporanus[/re]: If only they would have applied such zeal to other parts of their plan ie securing multi-ethnic countries after dismantling tyrannical regimes. Next time I guess.

  • populucious


    1) ARE YOU A DICK?



  • Zorg

    [re=364009]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Once’t, we brought back a scorpion to Houston from a ranch near San Antonio in our freaking luggage. Vile creatures, indeed — and our ranch friends then informed us over the telephone that they always travel in pairs…

  • LoweredPeninsula

    What? No reference to 1984. Fuckin’ fire-ants in a helmet?! This is “helmet-cage with rat in it” 1984 shit. Really, go read the book.