A senior official who briefed the press early this morning explained that “detainees in the post-9/11 period flagged for us individuals who may have been providing direct support to bin Laden and his deputy, [Ayman al-] Zawahiri, after their escape from Afghanistan.”And then, a paragraph later:
He continued: “One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, or his nickname, and identified him as both a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11, and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former number three of al-Qaeda who was captured in 2005.” The United States obtained this information four years ago, the official stated.
One more crucial fact: According to the “detainees” (note the plural), this individual was “one of the few al-Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden.”
Think about that: This lead was developed during the Bush Administration, most likely from al-Qaeda associates picked up and transferred to Guantanamo and subject to interrogations that critics have repeatedly deemed to be pointless in terms of intelligence value. Whether these detainees remain at Guantanamo is an open question.
For years, we have heard that strategic interrogation of detainees at Guantanamo was worthless, that the information is (at best) stale and almost certainly of dubious reliability. The most strident call such interrogations illegal.So, yes. Torture led to the intel that led to the bullets that killed Osama bin Laden.
Then there's Salena Zito, columnist at the Scaife-owned Tribune-Review:
Commandos killed bin Laden in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that began with the intelligence community identifying his courier last year and tracking his movements in the months leading up to Sunday.Remember, the "enhanced interrogation" was water boarding. Though Zito is unsure what connection there is between Abbottabad and waterboarding:
In the past decade, critics assailed the CIA for not connecting the dots before the 9/11 terror attacks, for failing to capture bin Laden and for using enhanced interrogation techniques.
It is unclear whether interrogations played a role in identifying the bin Laden courier whose trail led to the terror leader's door.Then there's the Scaife-owned Newsmax, interviewing none other than Don Rumsfeld himself:
Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.So which is it? Waterboarding led to Abbottabad or didn't it? They really should get their stories straight.
“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.”
Waterboarding's still illegal, though.