Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How George W. Bush’s secret CIA prisons and waterboarding killed Osama Bin Laden

UPDATE: CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding was used to get the tip on Osama Bin Laden’s location

Obama should NOT be getting a speck of credit for the execution of Osama Bin Laden. It was GEORGE W. BUSH who created the enhanced interrogation techniques and clandestine prisons that led to the location of Osama Bin Laden. Barack Obama voted to stop the enhanced interrogation techniques, and to close the secret CIA prisons.

The ultra-liberal Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the secret CIA prisons led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Excerpt:

Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

The news is sure to reignite debate over whether the now-closed interrogation and detention program was successful. Former president George W. Bush authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. President Barack Obama closed the prison system.

The UK Daily mail reports on how interrogation of Guantanamo Bay detainees led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Excerpt:

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay provided the crucial breakthrough in hunting down Osama Bin Laden, American officials said last night.

Senior officials in the Obama administration said intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden.

The claim will fuel the international row about the Guantanamo camp – one of the most controversial legacies of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. – and whether torture can ever be justified.

[...]Hundreds of suspects rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan were subjected to techniques such as water-boarding, sleep deprivation, white noise and stress positions at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba.

Human rights groups claim the techniques amounted to torture, and that many of the detainees had no link to terrorism.

But U.S. officials said interrogations had produced crucial information about a trusted courier who provided support to Bin Laden after he fled Afghanistan.

A senior source said detainees had provided the courier’s nickname and indicated he could be living with Bin Laden – although it took years to track down his true identity and location.

The official said: ‘Detainees flagged for us individuals who may have been providing direct support to Bin Laden and his deputy after their escape from Afghanistan. One courier in particular had our constant attention.’

Remember how the Democrats wanted to ban interrogations and close CIA prisons in 2009? (H/T Michelle Malkin)

Excerpt:

Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

And Obama campaigned on closing down Guantanamo Bay. He had nothing to do with the killing of Bin Laden. If anything, he was completely against the techniques and policies that worked to find and kill Bin Laden.

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38 Responses

  1. Jamie B says:

    As much as I am happy for the fact that Osama Bin Laden is no longer alive – I still can’t feel that torture is ever justifiable.

    • Right and we just disagree on whether waterbording is torture. If waterboarding were torture, then the United States Air Force tortures ALL of its pilots as part of their SERE training.

      • Jamie B says:

        There’s a difference between undertaking waterboarding voluntarily as a means to train a person up as a soldier and intentionally inflicting pain on a person without their consent.

        I really don’t understand how Republicans claim this isn’t torture. You can use as many euphemisms as you like, calling it ‘enhanced interrogation’ or whatever, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are intentionally inflicting pain on them in order to extract information – which is the very definition of torture.

        • Mary says:

          I agree with Jamie on this one. The issue of volition is important. As an analogy, if people choose to self flagellate, that is not torture. If we subject them to the same treatment without their consent, that constitutes torture.

          The argument in the post is also problematic in that it’s basically saying that the end (bringing OBL to justice) justifies the means.

          • I know that the people who oppose waterboarding think they have the moral high ground, but they don’t. Not waterboarding = allowing the murder of innocent civilians by Islamic terrorists.

            For example, the thwarted 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles:
            http://www.cnsnews.com/node/46949

            The intelligence was gained by waterboarding KSM. Anyone who refuses to waterboard KSM is in favor of the Los Angeles attack happening. And all the deaths and wars and turmoil that would result. So there is no moral superiority – it’s a moral deficiency. And the deficiency is caused due to lack of knowledge of the threat. For example, you have people who don’t know who KSM is making decisions about war and espionage based on their feelings.

          • Michael says:

            Exactly Mary.
            WK, You are using a utilitarian calculus to justify a means by appealing to the consequences.
            That is not a biblical way of doing ethics.

        • J. Paul says:

          I agree that people should be treated with dignity, as they are created in the image of God (like ‘em or not; hero or villain), but the argument that you propose against waterboarding does not hold up. I doubt anyone in our military would opt in favor of waterboarding during their training. For our military personel, it is not a matter of volunteering, they do not have an option.

          Nevertheless, I do think that such interrogation techniques can produce as much unreliable information as reliable information.

      • Michael says:

        Cristopher Hitchens, who is a neo-con on foreign policy, also said it wasn’t torture until…OOPS…he actually tried it for himself! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58
        Hmmm…do you want to try it WK? And tell us whether it’s torture or not?
        Cos if it’s not, then surely you would have no qualms in trying it out right? ;)

        • I’d would *love* to be waterboarded if it would save the lives of 3000 innocent people. Not to mention the financial consequences of 9/11 for the stock markets, and the financial and human cost of two wars.

  2. Mary says:

    According to this article on Wired, it wasn’t the waterboarding that lead to OBL being found but surveillance techniques: http://m.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/surveillance-not-waterboarding-led-to-bin-laden/

    • Waterboarding of KSM led to the initial tip:
      http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/05/03/rep-king-waterboarded-ksm-gave-up-bin-ladens-courier/

      Wired is… a left-leaning magazine. CBS News is CBS News.

      • Michael says:

        Isn’t it the genetic fallacy that says you cannot show an argument to be false by showing how it originated or based on who said it?? ;)
        And anyway, those in the intelligence services say that it was a close call with disagreement around the table, which took a lot of courage for Obama to take the right course of action. Even Cheney praised him for goodness’ sake!
        GOP will never beat Obama at presidential eleciton if they can’t even say, “You did this very well, but overall you’ve been bad for this country”.
        If personal ideology blinds you to evidence the american people will not listen, fact.

      • McSpinster says:

        Au contraire, WK. The initial tip on the courier did not come from Khalid Sheik Mohammed. It came from other detainees. When asked about him, KSM said he either didn’t know the courier or denied he was significant. And it was that denial that led the CIA to believe that the courier was a significant target.

  3. JNorton says:

    I don’t see how anyone can choose to prevent the temporary agony of an enemy even if it means saving the lives of innocents. Something tells me that if those against torture were in the position to make that choice, he would choose to save the lives.

  4. McSpinster says:

    Proof:

    John McCain says:”I think that these interrogations once publicized helped al Qaeda recruit. I got that from an al Qaeda operative in a prison camp in Iraq who told– who told me that.”

    He goes on to say, “I was in — Senator Lindsey Graham and I were in — in Camp Bucca, the twenty-thousand-prisoner camp. We met with a former high-ranking member of al Qaeda. I said, “How did you succeed so well in Iraq after the initial invasions?” He said two things. One, the chaos that existed after the initial invasion, there was no order of any kind. Two, he said, Abu Ghraib pictures allowed me and helped me to recruit thousands of young men to our cause. Now that’s al Qaeda.”

    Former General Counsel to the Navy Alberto Mora has stated this same conclusion in testimony to Congress more than a year ago. He said:

    “There are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq — as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat — are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.”

    General Ray Odierno:”The graphic revelations of detainee abuse motivated some terrorists including foreign fighters from Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia to join the jihad.”

    General David Petraeus: “An influx of foreign fighters from outside Afghanistan and new recruits from within Afghan could materialize, as the new photos serve as potent recruiting material to attract new members to join the insurgency.”

    From the SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY:”Treating detainees harshly only reinforces that distorted view, increases resistance to cooperation, and creates new enemies.”

  5. McSpinster says:

    From MSNBC:

    After the Sept. 11, attacks, “detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden.”

    The info on Khalid Sheik Mohammed denying the courier being significant and that this being of interest to the CIA was all over the news since yesterday, WK.

    • The two articles I cited said that KSM was the source – he dropped the name of the courier after being waterboarded.

      All I can do is quote the Strib, one of the most liberal newspapers in the known universe:

      Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

      UK Daily Mail:

      Detainees at Guantanamo Bay provided the crucial breakthrough in hunting down Osama Bin Laden, American officials said last night.

      Senior officials in the Obama administration said intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden.

      [...]Hundreds of suspects rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan were subjected to techniques such as water-boarding, sleep deprivation, white noise and stress positions at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba.

      Human rights groups claim the techniques amounted to torture, and that many of the detainees had no link to terrorism.

      But U.S. officials said interrogations had produced crucial information about a trusted courier who provided support to Bin Laden after he fled Afghanistan.

      A senior source said detainees had provided the courier’s nickname and indicated he could be living with Bin Laden – although it took years to track down his true identity and location.

      The official said: ‘Detainees flagged for us individuals who may have been providing direct support to Bin Laden and his deputy after their escape from Afghanistan. One courier in particular had our constant attention.’

      CBS News:

      “The initial information we received on who the currier was, the person to lead us to bin Laden, came as the result of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed being waterboarded,” Rep. King said. “He appeared on the radar screen as a result of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statements after he was waterboarded.”

      I need something specific to overturn those 3 stories. Quote, link, source.

  6. McSpinster says:

    Check out this story from Reuters:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/03/us-binladen-interrogations-idUSTRE7417SQ20110503

    Make sure you read the entire thing. It’s about the timeline of waterboarding of KSM, which predated the existence of the courier being divulged. So…for Peter King to say that waterboarding resulted in the initial information on the courier is just not true.

    But read the article.

    • Here’s an update. CIA Director Leon Panetta is directly crediting waterboarding for the intelligence that let to the assasination of Osama Bin Laden.

      Quote:

      Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

      Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

      Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

      Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

      Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

      Panetta: That’s correct.

      See the video of that interview of the CIA director by Brian Williams here:
      http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/03/if-youre-determined-to-believe-waterboarding-had-nothing-to-do-with-tracking-down-bin-laden-dont-listen-to-leon-panetta/

      I hope this will end this discussion, since I have produced Congressmen, news stories, and now the Director of the CIA to make very clear that Obama’s policy of scrapping military spending, dismantling counter-terrorism programs, and shutting down intelligence gathering has left us more vulnerable. We got Osama Bin Laden nly because of George W. Bush’s aggressive policy against terrorism and the hard work of the CIA.

  7. JNorton says:

    Why do you believe Reuters in favor of Peter King?

  8. JNorton says:

    As for torture being a major recruiting tool, I think the ONLY recruiting tool is the Koran.

    • Michael says:

      I agree that the Qur’an plays a big part but it clearly isn’t the only recruiting tool. From my experience in the Middle East, the war in iraq played a big part in turning moderate, mainstream muslims into anti-westerners, some of whom became supporters of extremists.

      • JNorton says:

        If these muslims were against the Iraq war, then they must have been for the dictator Hussein; if they were for the dictator Hussein, how could they be considered moderate?

        • Michael says:

          Erm no that’s not how it works. This is precisely the myth that hyper neo-cons don’t seem to get…just because you don’t like a leader doesn’t mean that you go and invade the country and occupy it for a decade.
          I don’t like Obama…oh I know let me invade and put someone else in power!
          No that’s not how it works. Going to war is an incredibly serious thing to do which costs a huge amount of money but more importantly leads to hundreds of thousands of people being killed.

          And another thing, you said, “if they were for the dictator Hussein, how could they be considered moderate?”
          You do realize that Hussein was a secular ruler right? Radical muslims hated him. He came from the Baathist party which is a secular, arabic form of socialism. They generally suppress any religions that are not state sponsored and they come from the same ideological family as the current Syrian regime. They are the same party.

          • JNorton says:

            But comparing Obama to a dictator like Hussein does not work. We can vote Obama out, Hussein was in for life and he did whatever he wanted to anyone he wanted. So if I lived in a dictatorship like Hussein’s Iraq and I was not a Hussein supporter, I can see favoring an intervention by another nation-like the USA.

            How am I wrong?

            And what does Erm mean?

  9. McSpinster says:

    PS: May I recommend the New York Times (my former employer) for its coverage of the Bin Laden story. And also the Christian Science Monitor’s article, for those of you who want more “centric” news coverage:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0503/Bin-Laden-wives-found-in-compound-one-used-as-human-shield/(page)/3

  10. Michael says:

    WK, you can’t discount someone’s mainstream source for being ‘radically leftist’ and then quote the Daily Mail which is without a doubt one of the most ideologically driven newspaper in the country. I even agree with most of its ideology but would be the first to say that it is incredibly biased in all its reporting.

  11. McSpinster says:

    If Bush is responsible, then I guess we should be asking him to release the photographs of Bin Laden, eh?

  12. [...] from Christian women… in paintings!; How George W. Bush’s secret CIA prisons and waterboarding killed Osama Bin Laden; How the Obama administration deliberately ships jobs overseas; Stephen C. Meyer explains why [...]

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