The torture crowd has been hard at work the past 24 hours, doing its best to push the idea that it was the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohommed that led to the courier who eventually led U.S. intelligence to Osama bin Laden. The Associated Press has been keen to push this story here, with a short piece asserting that KLM and his successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi, gave up the nickname of the courier at CIA black sites in Poland and Romania, where they were tortured. They later published a second, longer piecedoubling down on the theory.
And of course, Keep America Safe, the Liz Cheney/Bill Kristol propaganda tool, released a statement ignoring Obama and crediting “the men and women of America’s intelligence services who, through their interrogation of high-value detainees, developed the information that apparently led us to bin Laden.” As Jane Mayer says, "Funny. You would think that if the C.I.A.’s interrogation of high-value detainees was all it took, the U.S. government would have succeeded in locating bin Laden before 2006, which is when the C.I.A.’s custody of so-called “high-value detainees” ended."
She's absolutely right, which has been the point of the debunking by Marcy Wheeler of this story. And her debunking—particularly her main contention that KSM didn't give up the courier—is confirmed by a New York Times report today.
Prisoners in American custody told stories of a trusted courier. When the Americans ran the man’s pseudonym past two top-level detainees—the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed; and Al Qaeda’s operational chief, Abu Faraj al-Libi—the men claimed never to have heard his name. That raised suspicions among interrogators that the two detainees were lying and that the courier probably was an important figure.
KSM was waterboarded 183 times and didn't give up the courier's name, the key bit of intelligence that located bin Laden (unless, as Armando jokes, those denials extracted from KSM and al-Libi were the key to figuring out this was the key guy).
Of course, if you want a real debunking, there's not a better source than one of the torture architects and apologists, one of the guys sitting in the room when the Bush administration principles choreographed torture, deciding which methods to use and how to combine various methods for maximum effect. One of the handful of those ghouls was Donald Rumsfeld, whosays "harsh treatment" at CIA black sites didn't lead to bin Laden.
Dick Cheney said today that “it wouldn’t be surprising” the intel came from Bush’s torture program. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest that the detainees that provided the information that led to bin Laden were subject to torture. And Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who presumably has some knowledge about what went on at Gitmo, today threw some cold water on this theory:"The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding."
Interesting that Rumsfeld seems to want to make absolutely clear that his Defense Department didn't waterboard anyone (perhaps he's haunted at night by the spectre of Abu Ghraib happening on his watch). But his statement should be the definitive one: torture didn't net bin Laden.
Still for waterboarding. Let the vote downs commence.
Answer by Anonymous at 9:40 AM on May. 4, 2011
I have had a few over past couple days for saying I agree with water boarding.
Answer by Anonymous at 9:42 AM on May. 4, 2011
Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 9:47 AM on May. 4, 2011
Nope. We have used it in training our own soldiers. I have never been against it.
Answer by QuinnMae at 9:48 AM on May. 4, 2011
Answer by gemgem at 9:49 AM on May. 4, 2011
Answer by tnmomofive at 9:52 AM on May. 4, 2011
Answer by adnilm at 9:54 AM on May. 4, 2011