“Holder, a longtime opponent of keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison open, was asked whether lawmakers could be assured that the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s killing was not the result of waterboarding and other methods used under the George W. Bush administration to extract information from inmates.
“‘There was a mosaic of sources that lead to the identification of the people’ that ultimately led to al-Qaida’s leader, Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.
“When asked if ‘any’ enhanced interrogation techniques directly led to bin Laden’s killing, Holder simply replied: ‘I do not know.'”
[A] closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out. One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations. But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier’s identity…
“In 2004 … a Qaeda operative named Hassan Ghul, captured in Iraq, gave a different account of Mr. Kuwaiti, according to the American official. Mr. Ghul told interrogators that Mr. Kuwaiti was a trusted courier who was close to Bin Laden, as well as to Mr. Mohammed and to Abu Faraj al-Libi, who had become the operational chief of Al Qaeda after Mr. Mohammed’s capture.
“Mr. Kuwaiti, Mr. Ghul added, had not been seen in some time — which analysts thought was a possible indication that the courier was hiding out with Bin Laden.
“The details of Mr. Ghul’s treatment are unclear, though the C.I.A. says he was not waterboarded. The C.I.A. asked the Justice Department to authorize other harsh methods for use on him, but it is unclear which were used. One official recalled that Mr. Ghul was ‘quite cooperative,’ saying that rough treatment, if any, would have been brief.”
“The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.
“‘We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,’ said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.
“Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.”
“After Qahtani was subjected to some of the humiliating interrogations at Guantanamo that later became public, he started to cooperate and, for a while, provided a wealth of information about al-Qaida, including references to the courier in question, the U.S. official said…
“But U.S. officials stressed that none of the detainees at that point offered up the real identity of the courier. ‘All we had was the nom de guerre,’ said the U.S. official. To one counterterrorism expert who has sharply criticized the CIA’s interrogations, the failure of any of the high-value detainees to provide the identity of the courier raises fresh questions about the value of the information the agency was receiving from enhanced interrogations.
“‘They waterboarded KSM (Khaled Sheikh Mohammed) 183 times and he still didn’t give the guy up,’ said one former U.S. counterterrorism official who asked not to be identified. ‘Come on. And you want to tell me that enhanced interrogation techniques worked?'”
“Upon taking office, Mr. Obama tried to fulfill the dreams of the antiwar left. In January 2009, he signed executive orders to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and limit the CIA to U.S. military interrogation methods. He made it clear that al Qaeda leaders would be tried in civilian courts. And in August 2009, his attorney general, Eric Holder, launched a criminal investigation into CIA officers who had interrogated al Qaeda leaders.
“Imagine what would have happened if the Obama administration had been running things immediately following 9/11. After their ‘arrest,’ we would have read KSM and al-Libi their Miranda rights, provided them legal counsel, sent them to the U.S. for detention, and granted them all the rights provided a U.S. citizen in criminal proceedings.
“If this had happened, the CIA could not have built the intelligence mosaic that pinpointed bin Laden’s location. Without the intelligence produced by Bush policies, the SEAL helicopters would be idling their engines at their Afghanistan base even now. In the war on terror, it is easy to pull the trigger—it is hard to figure out where to aim.”
Via Greg Hengler.
Via Gateway Pundit.