Obama’s DNI reminds Obama that “enhanced interrogation” worked

posted at 8:44 am on April 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama’s top man in the intelligence community sent the President a memo defending the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which the White House edited before releasing to the press de-emphasizing that defense.  Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, pointed out that most of what we know about al-Qaeda came from using those techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, countering leaks last week from the Obama administration that claimed the methods produced no data:

President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

The New York Times, which got a copy of the memo, also notices some odd redactions from the version released by the White House:

Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”

In other words, the Obama administration covered up the fact that even their own DNI acknowledges that the interrogations produced actionable and critical information.  When Dick Cheney demanded the release of the rest of the memos relating that information, he wasn’t just going on a fishing expedition.  Cheney filed a request to declassify those memos in March, and the CIA has yet to decide on his request, but we can no longer doubt that records exist showing the success of those interrogations.

Obama has occasionally suggested a truth-and-reconciliation approach to probing the use of torture by the Bush administration, but this establishes that Obama isn’t terribly interested in “truth”.  Withholding the truth that waterboarding produced information that saved hundreds of American lives, perhaps thousands, shows that Obama values public relations more than he does the truth.  He wants to argue that none of this was necessary to secure the nation against terrorist attacks.  In order to make that argument, he redacted Blair’s memo, including his defense of his predecessors, whom Blair acknowledges had to face some tough decisions to uncover plots against America.

Maybe Obama could learn a lesson from Blair in that regard.

We need to have an honest debate on interrogation techniques and securing America against attack from radical, committed terrorists.  Conservatives should stop pretending that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture that the US has opposed for decades when used abroad, especially against our own citizens.  But everyone else should stop pretending that it doesn’t work, and that we would have been safer without its use.  The real question — the one Obama wanted to avoid in his cover-up of Blair’s memo — is how many American lives is it worth to say we don’t waterboard?  Ten? A hundred?  Three thousand?  Fifty thousand, the intended result of 9/11 and presumably the Second Wave waterboarding stopped?


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Obama stating that those techniques did not work is dishonest. Redacting the portion of Blair’s memo which agrees that it worked is further dishonesty.

drjohn on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Or do you disagree that an attack would be devestating towards President Obama’s legacy?

I don’t know. I only know that many on the right would do their best to try and make that so.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

he still is against these techniques because of the damage they do to our ideals and reputation.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

I have no respect for anyone who thinks that Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s fear of drowning supercedes any innocent life. What ‘ideal’ does that represent?

ProfessorMiao on April 22, 2009 at 10:51 AM

God bless you, ADM Blair.

Hope you get to hold on to your job, ’cause we really need you right now.

Otis B on April 22, 2009 at 10:54 AM

I don’t know. I only know that many on the right would do their best to try and make that so.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Again, I’ll quibble with your choice of words. A few on the right would be eager to politicize an attack. ‘Many’ would not. Most patriotic Americans (right or left) would agree that a loss of American life to a terrorist attack would not be worth whatever gain their particular party got as a result.

I think, no matter how badly one side wanted to write the story, another attack on American soil would be so devestating to President Obama’s legacy that history could not be rewritten even by every media outlet in the nation.

(On a side note, we do have real world evidence of members of the far left crowing just about every time things took a turn for the worse in Iraq, including leaders in the Democrat Party).

BadgerHawk on April 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM

There’s no Ground Zero in Los Angeles thanks to use of this technique. How many lives would have been lost without this information about a Second Wave is unknowable but should still give rational people (hence this excludes most liberals and progressives like getalife) pause.
Indeed, without waterboarding we might not even now know about the identity of and might not have captured KSM the mastermind of 9/11. Just for that information received from waterboarding was worth its price in gold.

eaglewingz08 on April 22, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Didn’t you know? For Dear Leader’s supporters like Andrew Sullivan it’s OK to lose one or two cities rather than commit waterboarding.

promachus on April 22, 2009 at 10:59 AM

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”

That is hedge hogging at best.

rlwo2008 on April 22, 2009 at 11:01 AM

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Great post Coldwarrior.

For the liberals that don’t get how Obama’s/democrats tactics are making America less safe,the CIA is rolling it out for you in black and white:

One veteran counterterrorism operative says that agents in the field are already being more careful about using the legal findings that authorize covert action. An example is the so-called “risk of capture” interview that takes place in the first hour after a terrorism suspect is grabbed. This used to be the key window of opportunity, in which the subject was questioned aggressively and his cellphone contacts and “pocket litter” were exploited quickly.

Now, field officers are more careful. They want guidance from headquarters. They need legal advice. I’m told that in the case of an al-Qaeda suspect seized in Iraq several weeks ago, the CIA didn’t even try to interrogate him. The agency handed him over to the U.S. military.

Agency officials also worry about the effect on foreign intelligence services that share secrets with the United States in a process politely known as “liaison.” A former official who remains in close touch with key Arab allies such as Egypt and Jordan warns: “There is a growing concern that the risk is too high to do the things with America they’ve done in the past.”

Afraid to take chances,to get intel,to act quickly to prevent losing information that can catch a high value target or stop an imminent attack.

Anybody with common sense can see this makes us more vulnerable to attack.

Baxter Greene on April 22, 2009 at 11:04 AM

No one wants Obama’s legacy to be ruined because of a terror attack. In fact no one wants Obama’s legacy ruined period because it means ruin for the country/
However Obama is marching to the beat of whoever the f is in his head. At the moment his legacy is all about his actions.

Sorry, Shipley, there is no vast right wing conspiracy. Obama is Obama’s own worst enemy.

ORconservative on April 22, 2009 at 11:07 AM

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,

Oh come on, grow up admiral!

Don’t just defend the sensible & responsible people who justified and called for those successful methods, defend the methods!

Chessplayer on April 22, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Ooooppppssss…

DNI not get the memo?

Or, as I really suspect… was he not in the meetings where all this stuff was talked about… meaning the Intelligence guy was NOT in on a decision about intelligence issues… just politicians.

Romeo13 on April 22, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Didn’t you know? For Dear Leader’s supporters like Andrew Sullivan it’s OK to lose one or two cities rather than commit waterboarding.

promachus on April 22, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Speaking of Sullivan (one of the leading liberal voices on the internet according to Newsweek),have you seen the new definition of torture:

(via Justoneminute)
Although it seems awfully late in the debate, the Daily Dish defines torture:

It is to subject captives to such levels of physical or mental pain or suffering that they “have reached the limit of their ability to withhold [information] in the face of psychological and physical hardship.” This is, in fact, as close to a definition of torture as you are likely to find.

Ahh, so if the captive starts talking it’s torture. Helpful. My legal advice to his captors would be to clear the room if the captive clears his throat or otherwise appears to be about to speak.

Just continue to move those goalposts liberals,the terrorist will love you and respect you for it.

Baxter Greene on April 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM

I am more struck by the lack of story that a President distorted the truth for political gain, and sad to say as part of a pattern. Don’t lie. Don’t lie when it is easy to check. Don’t lie even when most people won’t be told you lied, or care that you lied.

AnotherOpinion on April 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM

More brilliant analysis from the man who still claims Trig is not really Gov. Palin’s child:

(via Justoneminute)
http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2009/04/not-a-lawyer-or-even-a-clear-thinker.html


MORE SLOPPY THINKING: From the D Dish:

Zubaydah understood that torture is the imposition of sufficient physical or psychological pain or suffering to cause even religious fanatics, who believe their very souls are at stake, to have no choice but to submit.

Huh? “His soul is at stake?” The Zubaydah passage makes clear that a believer does not risk his soul by the act of cooperating with his captors; he risks his soul by cooperating without first resisting as best he can. Zubayadah is clearly not expressing any sort of “Death before dishonor” credo here.

That’s right,we are now obligated to worry about the souls of terrorist from the liberals who are fighting to have “In God We Trust” stricken from money and “Merry Christmas” stricken from our schools.

Baxter Greene on April 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

I am more struck by the lack of story that a President distorted the truth for political gain, and sad to say as part of a pattern. Don’t lie. Don’t lie when it is easy to check. Don’t lie even when most people won’t be told you lied, or care that you lied.

AnotherOpinion on April 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM

This is just straight up politicizing a national security
issue for personal gain.

Just like the DHS report that the Obama administration had to apologize for just last week.

Where is the accountability that Mr. Hope and Change ran on?

Baxter Greene on April 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

AnotherOpinion on April 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM

That’s what I’m trying to figure out. The media is unbelievable

youngO on April 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

I thought the Left said torture never works!

But now we know for a fact waterboarding works.

Therefore, we can conclude: Waterboarding isn’t torture.

CultureWar on April 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM

I don’t believe that, Del. Incompetent? Yes. Uncaring? No.

AnninCA on April 22, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Don’t forget that after 9/11, some of Bill Clinton’s kneepads were bemoaning the fact that the attacks hadn’t happened on his watch, so he could have been the one to look “Presidential”.

Of course, in reality the attacks were supposed to happen on his watch, but Atta told Ozzie bin Laden that they needed more training time.

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Or do you disagree that an attack would be devestating towards President Obama’s legacy?
I don’t know. I only know that many on the right would do their best to try and make that so.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

LOL, the right would only have to point to facts after such an attack.

After all, the evil Bush and Cheney kept us safe for 7 years with these “brutal” methods. O’bama changed the rules and an attack was the result.

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

OT, but did anyone see this yet?

FBI spied on TEA Party Americans

CultureWar on April 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Make no mistake: This memo will become a major feature of the Bushies’ ongoing campaign to shift the debate onto the narrow question of whether torture “worked” in hopes of salvaging their reputations in the wake of the torture memo revelations.

So here’s the question: Will the media clearly report Blair’s actual views about torture?

Blair released a statement late yesterday in which he clearly stated that there is no way of knowing whether means other than torture would have obtained the same info. More important, he said the damage done to us by torture “far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.” Blair has outlined these views elsewhere.

link

I don’t believe that Obama will stop torture, but it’s kind of a big omission by the pro-torture camp not to include this bit of Blair’s statement.

The Dean on April 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Justifying torture is an excuse for breaking the law.

getalife on April 22, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Illegal immigration is against the law. You can’t pick and choose which laws are ok and which ones aren’t, unless you’re a hypocrit.

Obama is playing political football with the security of this Country. His rudder is not guided by principle. For him, it’s all about HIM.

SoldiersMom on April 22, 2009 at 11:47 AM

The Dean on April 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM

The problem with your premise is that the information is FACT, while whether its better or worse for the country is OPINION.

Yet, while this debate is ongoing, they don’t want to talk about the Factual record, just the “feeling” that it has hurt this country more than it has helped.

Please explain to me, by what Metric can you say whether this has helped, or hurt, the country more?

IF the meme that torture creates enemies for us is true, then with the REAL documented beheadings and Tortures of the Islamic world… why have they not been swamped by enemies? Why, with all the torture that goes on in the name of that Religion (if torture causes enemies) does that religion still even exist?

You create a false standard for the West… one that is easily disprooven by history… both ancient, and modern.

Romeo13 on April 22, 2009 at 11:51 AM

One has to love it when the leaky sieve works in our favor.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Or do you disagree that an attack would be devestating towards President Obama’s legacy?

I don’t know. I only know that many on the right would do their best to try and make that so.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Were an attack to happen tomorrow, or even next month or six months from now, while there would be people on the right eagar to blame Obama, you have to go back to the 9/11 report and remember that it took those plotters several years to put their plan into effect, which included the flying school training efforts in Minnesota and Arizona that could have been uncovered, but weren’t.

On the other hand, if you make a very public effort not only to change policy, but to announce you will no longer use the policy of your predecessor, then at some point it time, those actions have to be judged by their results, and versus the results of the previous administration.

You can attack waterboarding, say it will never be used again, threaten to prosecute everyone from George Bush to the janitors at Gitmo over it, but by changing policy, you then have to stand on that policy, which is the gamble Obama’s taking. If there’s another successful terrorist attack, say, in 2011, with thousands dead, all the current concerns about waterboarding are going to look quaint if Robert Gibbs steps up to the podium at the White House (assuming it’s still there) and starts trying to explain why the U.S. isn’t going to try as hard this time to prevent any future terror attacks or punish the people responsible.

jon1979 on April 22, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Romeo13 on April 22, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Most of the usual suspects fail to realize, or admit, that long long before the first drop of water hit the cloth over KSM’s face, the jihad was already torturing and killing, with gleeful wild abandon.

The Beirut bombings…Embassy and Marine barracks. Burning the US Embassy in Islamabad to the ground in 1979, with American fatalities. Seizing and holding the American Embassy in Iran…1979-1980. The first WTC attack. Khobar Towers. The USS Cole. The Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings. Mir Aimal Kansi. 9/11. Daniel Perl.

All long long before KSM’s face got wet.

And in all of these events…the basic rule for our side was “terrorism is a law enforcement matter.”

The jihadis were at war…and we were forced to play cops and robbers.

Talk about asymetric warfare.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 12:04 PM

How things have changed since Sept.11, 2001:


Khaled Shaik Mohammed,

This is the man that mastermineded the deaths of over 3000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001 and is on record as taking great pride in this accomplishment.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22530

They informed him that they had received the “green light from Washington” to give him ” a hard time.” “They never used the word ‘torture’ and never referred to ‘physical pressure,’ only to ‘ a hard time. ‘ I was never threatened with death, in fact I was told that they would not allow me to die, but that I would be brought to the ‘ verge of death and back again.’”

This is the man that was counting on enough jet fuel to burn people to death in the buildings that they flew airliners into.
They were not warned about whether they would die or not when they got to work that morning.

October 2002, Mohammed was also subjected to waterboarding, by his account on five occasions:
I would be strapped to a special bed, which could be rotated into a vertical position. A cloth would be placed over my face. Cold water from a bottle that had been kept in a fridge was then poured onto the cloth by one of the guards so that I could not breathe…. The cloth was then removed and the bed was put into a vertical position. The whole process was then repeated during about one hour. Injuries to my ankles and wrists also occurred during the water-boarding as I struggled in the panic of not being able to breath. Female interrogators were also present…and a doctor was always present, standing out of sight behind the head of [the] bed, but I saw him when he came to fix a clip to my finger which was connected to a machine. I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood. So they could take me to [the] breaking point.

Water poured over his face in 40 second intervals and his wrists and ankles were scarred,all the while being monitored by a doctor.
Did any of the victims in the Trade Towers have scars on their wrists and ankles?
Any doctors monitoring them while the buildings came down.

OOOOhh…that’s right..there were only fragments left of the victims in New York,Washington,and Pennsylvania.

And how do liberals describe the experiences that blood thirsty terrorist who kill and maim people in the name of the jihad go through in trying to get information to stop the slaughter:

One works the imagination trying to picture what it was like in this otherworldly place: blackness in place of vision. Silence—or “sometimes” loud music—in place of sounds of life. Shackles, together sometimes with gloves, in place of the chance to reach, touch, feel. One senses metal on wrist and ankle, cotton against eyes, cloth across face, shit and piss against skin. On “some occasions detainees were transported lying flat on the floor of the plane…with their hands cuffed behind their backs,” causing them “severe pain and discomfort,” as they were moved from one unknown location to another.

“Sounds of music instead of sounds of life”
Oh the horror these terrorist must endure just because they decided to undertake some of the most senseless slaughter humankind has ever seen.

“Shackles, together sometimes with gloves, in place of the chance to reach, touch, feel”

OHHHH…denied the chance to feel Dynamite and IED’s with my fingers .
OHHHH…denied the chance to touch a button of a suicide vest before I slaughter dozens of people whose biggest crime is shopping in a district that does not practice shira law.
OHHHHH..denied the chance to feel the controls of a hijacked jet liner before I crash it into a building killing thousands of innocent people.

OHHHHHH the horror the poor wittle terrorist had to endure
from the EEEEEEEEEEEvil Bush Administration set out to stop the unmitigated slaughter of thousands of innocent people around the world by the jihadist.

The joy every terrorist must feel now that Obama and the super intelligent liberals are here to save them from having to feel stressed and uncomfortable while withholding information that could save thousands of lives.

Baxter Greene on April 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Personally, I dont give a damn what they had to do to Shiek Khalid Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, to get more info. I think castration with a hot poker would have been appropriate, even if it only saved ONE American. The publization of this is really an act of treason against the people of the United States, and Obama should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Then , and only then when the radical muslims of the world know we will not tolerate their bullcrap will we be safe. Maybe getalife is really an underground al-queda sympathizer, lets waterboard him and find out.
Truth be known, if we really ever knew half of what went on to keep our country safe from the like of radical muslims who would blow-up,poison,nuke,molest,subterfuge elections, and whatever else these crazies have in mind, i feel safer knowing the CIA,and other agencies used to be allowed to do their job. Do i give a damn about some asshole who wants to blow up my country? hell no. do whatever it takes to keep my family and myself safe from threats, both forign and domestic. If you have no intent of wrongdoing, you are generally safe from harm of the US government.IF, however, you are a psychotic lunatic using religion as a crutch to do harm unto others, you should be tortured, maimed, nutz cutoff whatever.The very fact that the Democrats have sold out the intelligence community for percieved higher ratings and to prosecute our sons and daughters in the military who defend our country on a daily basis just makes me sick. I say the Democratic Party as a whole is guilty of treason and should be punished accordingly.

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on April 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Eric Holder spoke out on the interrogation of unlawful combatants in 2002.

“One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.

“It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.”

American thinker site quotes Holder

seven on April 22, 2009 at 12:10 PM

I don’t know. I only know that many on the right would do their best to try and make that so.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

As opposed to the established fact that fully half the people on the Left think 9/11 was an “inside job”. I’ll take political exploitation over delusional paranoia.

Beagle on April 22, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Since Holder endorsed interrogation techniques in 2002, I suspect the change now is that they truly really do not care but want to torture Cheney and the previous leaders.
Democrats want to torture people they hate.

seven on April 22, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Conservatives should stop pretending that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture that the US has opposed for decades when used abroad, especially against our own citizens.

Just because we oppose an interrogation tactic, when used illegally against our citizens, doesn’t make it torture. I mean, I oppose locking people up for no reason, but that doesn’t mean I want to close all the jails.

Jim Treacher on April 22, 2009 at 12:24 PM

The damage has been done and President Obama has killed not only the CIA future intelligence gathering under his administration, but ALL US intelligence agencies and that is the real issue from the memo release, which his administration seems to not to care about. I believe the goal was to distract from the failed economic policies and world tour, but they have no clue about what it really did.

This probably did more to cripple our intelligence agencies then all the budget cuts to them in the 1990′s did. There is nothing now he is going to be able to do in the future while he is in office to fix it.

JeffinSac on April 22, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Thank you, Dick Cheney, former elected offical and now private citizen, forpushing back in support of this critical aspect in the defense of our country. Now. Where the hell are the elected official>? Y’know, the ones who are getting paid to do this kind of thing.

curved space on April 22, 2009 at 1:04 PM

This issue has my ire up.

Bring it on, open up all of the files.
The more I learn, the more I think Obama is walking into a wall with this.
He needs to stick with Looking Forward. He is deferring a pretty freakin’ big decision.
WAY Out of his Pay Grade.

bridgetown on April 22, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Again, I’ll quibble with your choice of words. A few on the right would be eager to politicize an attack. ‘Many’ would not. Most patriotic Americans (right or left) would agree that a loss of American life to a terrorist attack would not be worth whatever gain their particular party got as a result.

Perhaps you’re right. But honestly, the way people have been incessantly attack Obama for anything and everything, I have my doubts.

On the other hand, if you make a very public effort not only to change policy, but to announce you will no longer use the policy of your predecessor, then at some point it time, those actions have to be judged by their results, and versus the results of the previous administration.

But there’s no evidence that the policy that was changed saved any lives under Bush.

I think the fact that they threw out the Library Tower plot as an example of a plot that was “foiled” because of waterboarding shows how little actionable intelligence they did get from the practice.

http://slate.com/id/2216601

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM

You JACK-A$$ES would politicize tampons if you thought it would get you elected.

jdkchem on April 22, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Perhaps you’re right. But honestly, the way people have been incessantly attack Obama for anything and everything, I have my doubts.

For 8 years it’s what you jack-a$$es did to Bush and now you get upset because you’re on the receiving end. If you were remotely honest you would not bother to complain.

jdkchem on April 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM

http://slate.com/id/2216601

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM

LOL, written by a guy named Tim Noah-who was originally against the Iraq War, then claimed to have been converted to a pro-war stance by Colin Powell’s speech at the UN. He then changed his mind again when it became politically expedient to do so.

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2009 at 1:19 PM

So, let me get this straight Mr. Obama; it is okay to kill three pirates, (who deserved it by the way), to save one American who is being held captive, and whose life is being threatened, but it is not okay to waterboard a terrorist to save hundreds or thousands of American lives?

Sorry, to be so daft, I just don’t get it.

Susanboo on April 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Heeeelllllpppppp! According to the definition I am being tortured by my own president… Help me please, make it stop…

kringeesmom on April 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM

For 8 years it’s what you jack-a$$es did to Bush and now you get upset because you’re on the receiving end. If you were remotely honest you would not bother to complain.

jdkchem on April 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM

In May of 2003, Senator Hillary Clinton assured us that criticizing the President was “patriotic”.

But only if the President is a Republican, apparently.

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Del,

Attack the writer if you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Bush administration said that plot had been foiled in 2002:

The White House said Thursday that U.S. authorities disrupted the so-called “West Coast Airliner Plot” in mid-2002, stopping terrorists from attacking “targets on the West Coast of the United States using hijacked airplanes. The plotters included at least one major operational planner involved in planning the events of 9/11.”

http://articles.latimes.com/p/2005/oct/08/nation/na-terror8

Sheikh Mohammed was captured in 2003.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003 by the Pakistani ISI, possibly in a joint action with agents of the American Diplomatic Security Service, and has been in U.S. custody since that time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Shaikh_Mohammed

So, maybe he did admit to that plot, but the plot was dead in the water at that point. To me, that bolsters the argument of opponents of waterboarding who claim that the information you get from people who have the technique applied to them is just not reliable.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Wow, a White House that is actually cherry-picking intelligence!

When do the John Conyers show trials start?

rockmom on April 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

You are assuming that there was only 1 LA plot.

Over a dozen plots have been prevented from fruition here in the US…and even more abroad.

Yes, there have been a few hard-core AQ types that had to be rinsed and re-rinsed a few times, but for the rank and file members of AQ…they seem to want to sing like canaries when they find out their leadership is given rough treatment. Their logic goes to “if the Americans treat the really valuable intelligent guys this badly, what are they going to do with us simple ignorant worthless goat-herders?”

And these goat-herders willingly provide info hoping that in exchange they’ll fare better.

Without having every single foiled AQ plot laid out in detail in the MSM, for the prurient interests of those with a desire to know but no actual need to know, suffice it to say, there was more than just that one LA spectacular in the making.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 1:38 PM

You are assuming that there was only 1 LA plot.

Well, sure. I’m assuming that there weren’t two separate plots to fly a plane into the Library Tower in LA. And as the Slate article points out, ANY plot to fly a plane into a building after 9/11 by al Qaeda wouldn’t make much sense considering they relied on the fact that passengers on 9/11 assumed the hijackers were not suicidal and would not intentionally crash the plane.

As flight 93 showed, that assumption quickly vanished.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Knowledge of the heroics of Flight 93 did not get a wide distribution in the Islamic world.

In speaking with a few from the Middle East in Dearborn several months ago, their response to comments about Flight 93 were mostly astonishment. One Palestinian student said that such a thing never happened, even after a brave Lebanese student told him that Discovery and NatGeo channel both presented the Flight 93 story on their programming. The Palestinian was adamant…Americans would never have the courage to do such a thing.

Thus, with this mindset engrained, even with TSA and DHS being “every vigilant” [/s] the jihadists would seek to use the same sort of device, an aircraft filled with fuel and innocents the moment they found the opportunity.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM

That’s fair. And I don’t want to argue that waterboarding is the most awesomely successful technique ever. But in a ‘ticking bomb’ scenario where time is important, I think it was certainly a legitimate practice.

The fact that it was used so sparingly shows that our interrogators, given the absence of time as a factor, likely agreed that other methods would prove more fruitful. It’s tough to know that for sure but that’s what I would venture.

BadgerHawk on April 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM

So, maybe he did admit to that plot, but the plot was dead in the water at that point. To me, that bolsters the argument of opponents of waterboarding who claim that the information you get from people who have the technique applied to them is just not reliable.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

You’re also assuming that the best information he gave us in unclassified. Hayden and Mukasey as well as others in the know have stated that the information gleaned from KSM and others has been very helpful in killing terrorists and their networks.

gwelf on April 22, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I’ve been curious how difficult it would be for a terrorist organization to simply purchase or charter a decent sized plane, fill it with fuel or explosives, file a legitimate flight plan, and then just crash that aircraft into a building. Several cities have their airports located very close to the downtown area, and by the time the aircraft diverted from its flight plan it would be too late to do anything about it.

The highjacking route doesn’t strike me as that likely a scenario. I would assume a change of tactics.

BadgerHawk on April 22, 2009 at 2:02 PM

he still is against these techniques because of the damage they do to our ideals and reputation.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

And what was our reputation? That when we capture terrorists we extract useful information from them without killing them or doing permanent or lasting harm to them? Sure, some of our ‘allies’ will be offended at this but they don’t like a lot of things we do and as Obama has demonstrated recently by his tour of Europe they aren’t any more willing to help us when we do what they want.

gwelf on April 22, 2009 at 2:03 PM

How come the left want heads to roll on this issue, but feel they are above reproach, at the abuses they hurl toward anyone, who disagrees with their ideology?

Verbal abuse is abuse. Perhaps they best remember that, next time they want to villify Palin, or anyone else in politics, that doesn’t meet their criteria of suitable.

On the one hand, they espouse their high moral grounds, and sympathy for terrorist, while yanking kids in voucher schools out. They take the moral high ground on global warming, but will probably have no problems with the elderly dying, because of heat stroke, or freezing in the winter.

So basically, what it boils down to is…. they value the lives of terrorists, over the citizens of this country, who seem to be making them all exceedingly wealthy, and more powerful.

capejasmine on April 22, 2009 at 2:16 PM

I’ve been curious how difficult it would be for a terrorist organization to simply purchase or charter a decent sized plane, fill it with fuel or explosives, file a legitimate flight plan, and then just crash that aircraft into a building.

I would assume — and hope! — that it would be very hard. I’m guessing and hoping the vetting process for smaller flights is pretty hard core these days.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 2:27 PM

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I don’t really buy that. Even if what happened on flight 93 didn’t get play in the Muslim world, I’m betting AQ knew exactly what happened. They maybe evil f*cks, but they’ve shown to be pretty smart about how they plan.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Obama lies, about most everything. How stupid does he think Americans are?

tarpon on April 22, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Apparently a lot of us are very stupid. He’s just counting on past behavior as predictor of future events, that the majority will continue to give him a pass.

evergreen on April 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Then there was that Turk-Canadian a week ago who flew across the US on a personal suicide mission. Chartering an aircraft, while difficult, is not impossible. Having that chartered aircraft enhanced overseas is doable. Crossing into our airspace…has been done, recently.

Just takes one lucky jihadi crew to make the unthinkable reality.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2009 at 2:29 PM

They have the advantage of picking and choosing targets and methodology, and cheaply.

AQ has not ruled out using an aircraft, even today. Putting together a multiple hijacking, with multiple crews, at multiple targets? Not likely. But, among other means of getting to a high-visibility target, aircraft are not off the books, yet.

And, perhaps a lower risk method might work as well. Having dozens if not hundreds of jihadis simply blowing up gasoline stations across Europe and the United States at the same hour of the day on the same day. Easy to accomplish, and would set off wholesale panic in the streets immediately.

Never underestimate the imagination and efforts of a foe with nothing to lose.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I think, for me, the biggest issue is government incompetence. You simply can’t expect to build a good organization when you whip them around.

Nobody who is really talented would agree to make this a career. Reading about what happened the last time the administration took after the CIA, most of those people are ending up broke from legal fees.

It’s self-destructive on our part.

Whatever….I don’t think torture is a smart strategy, either.

Neither is this.

Commonsense was presented for a brief moment. Change the tactics. Move on.

Now, Obama blew that.

AnninCA on April 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Conservatives should stop pretending that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture that the US has opposed for decades when used abroad, especially against our own citizens

Gosh, it’s such a horrible form of “torture” that leftards repeatedly have it done to them so that they can complain about it.

Right

Greg Q on April 22, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Conservatives should stop pretending that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture that the US has opposed for decades when used abroad, especially against our own citizens

BTW, you’re missing one of the points. Yes, we do object to our people being tortured. That hasn’t stopped the enemy from doing it.

If they’re going to torture our people, then I can see no reason why we shouldn’t torture theirs.

The whole point of the Geneva Conventions was reciprocity. “You don’t do this to us, and we won’t do it to you.” Reciprocity only works when people know that the inverse is also true: “you do this to us, we will do it to you.”

The moral choice, the choice that makes the world a better place, is to put all would-be torturers on notice: If you torture, then you will get it, too.

Greg Q on April 22, 2009 at 4:46 PM

What kills me is Al Quada doesnt worry about who they hurt. They will continue chopping heads and killing children…..and will take any opportunity to kill any Americans. They will torture us.

They are not covered under the Geneva convention since they are not from any 1 country. Last night Meghan Kelly said that the Congress in the Early 70′s defined what torture was and any legal action taken against past officials would have to point this out and maybe call those congresspeople in to testify. In any event she didnt think the prosecutions would work and they will lose in court. They being those in the Obama administration who is pushing for this.

becki51758 on April 22, 2009 at 4:47 PM

“but this establishes that Obama isn’t terribly interested in “truth”

you don’t say

notagool on April 22, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Bottom line, I wouldn’t care if the CIA drop-kicked fluffy little white bunnies through the goal-posts at any football stadium filled to capacity for a PETA Rally if I thought it would net actionable info to avert a terrorist attack.

hawkdriver on April 22, 2009 at 6:04 PM

I think, for me, the biggest issue is government incompetence. You simply can’t expect to build a good organization when you whip them around.

Nobody who is really talented would agree to make this a career. Reading about what happened the last time the administration took after the CIA, most of those people are ending up broke from legal fees.

AnninCA on April 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Maybe the CIA should start recruiting interrogators from the ranks of anyone crazy enough to take a job at AIG. AIG employees have fewer rights than terrorists, so they’ll be easy to throw under the bus if coercive interrogations ever come back to haunt the Obama Administration.

The dangerous thing about putting liberals in charge of military or intelligence operations is, they can never put their heart and soul into the work. Their ideology stipulates the use of military force is so abhorrent that only a nation of surpassing moral perfection can legitimately employ it. America only has this moral perfection when a Democrat occupies the Oval Office. That’s why the same people who agonize over wet towels on the faces of captured terrorists were serenely untroubled by Bill Clinton raining bombs on Serbia from 30,000 feet. Those same people like to scream about “Bush’s illegal war of choice” against a country that “wasn’t threatening us,” but shed no tears for Slobodan Milosevic. If Barack Obama personally waterboarded a fourteen-year-old Somali pirate tomorrow, Hillary Clinton would hail him as an epic hero, and the same people trying to sue the entire Bush Administration, one CIA agent at a time, would build a statue in his honor. There’s an old saying that war is diplomacy by other means. For Democrats, war is politics by the same old, tired means.

I don’t think liberals can be trusted to run *anything*, but they should especially be kept far away from the military, and even farther away from intelligence gathering. Their fetish for admiring themselves as enlightened citizens of the world, and their discomfort with boorish, primitive nationalism, makes it very difficult for them to see America as a righteous nation entitled to defend itself against enemies, or even admit there are “enemies” as the rest of us understand the term. They value their standing as Citizens Of The World far more than they prize their identity as Americans – you can bet your lunch money Obama still doesn’t think he did anything wrong on his embarrassing, sniveling creep around the globe, and was very comfortable sharing a laugh with good old Uncle Hugo over the colorful things he says about the United States.

For the Left, a United States under attack is treated exactly the same as the victim of a home invasion robbery: the proper position to assume is a defensive cringe, understanding the motivations of the robbers is essential to dismissing enlightened justice, and the use of deadly force in self-defense will be punished far more severely than the original crime. You’re not supposed to fight back. You’re supposed to file a complaint with the proper authorities and wait for your legal team to work out a court date with the robber’s legal team. Liberals don’t want useful intelligence from terrorists… they want to hear their list of grievances.

Doctor Zero on April 22, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Sorry, Ed, but you’re not looking for honest debate when you tell people to stop “pretending” waterboarding isn’t a form of torture. I object to plenty of US policies, and so do you. That’s simply not a credible yardstick.

JM Hanes on April 22, 2009 at 6:25 PM

This afternoon CBS was saying that enhanced interrogation did produce results in this case. CBS also said that the information might have been acquired by other means. They implied that the alternate path was likely.

burt on April 22, 2009 at 9:09 PM

burt on April 22, 2009 at 9:09 PM

CBS, as with all of those who want to play this “the information coulda been obtained elsewhere”stuff, must think we will have to wait for these thugs to write their memoirs, and then wait for the English translations to come out on Amazon.

Call me crazy, but I’d rather not wait that long.

coldwarrior on April 22, 2009 at 9:48 PM

just testing

maggieo on April 25, 2009 at 12:26 AM

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