Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should we use waterboarding to stop terrorist attacks against schools in Pakistan?

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East

Let’s use a real example to assess whether harsh interrogation techniques are ever justified.

The Wall Street Journal:

Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan and killed at least 141 people, methodically shooting schoolchildren in the head and setting fire to some victims in a horrifying 9-hour rampage.

Shahrukh, a 17-year-old survivor of Tuesday’s attack in Peshawar, said many students were assembled in the school auditorium when the gunmen burst in and started spraying bullets. He was shot in both legs and fell to the ground.

“I saw them set one of our teachers on fire in front of me,” he said.

The scale and level of brutality in the massacre marked a grim milestone in Pakistan’s seven-year battle against Islamist insurgents. Of the 141 killed, 132 were schoolchildren. Fifteen bodies of students were burned so badly they couldn’t be immediately identified when they were brought to the city’s Combined Military Hospital, security officials said.

Amir Ameen, 18 years old, said he and 11 other students were taking an exam when two gunmen entered their classroom. They shot students one by one, mostly in the head, he said from his bed at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

The attackers shouted “Allahu akbar” or “God is great” over and over as they shot each student, Mr. Ameen said. They spoke Pashto—the language of Pakistan’s Pashtun ethnic majority in northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan.

[…]“The dead children we transported were shot in the head and in the face, some in the eye, as if the gun was close to them,” he said. “The children who were injured had gunshot wounds on the back of their legs and arms. They were in shock, but told us they were hit as they ran away from the attackers.”

[…]“They have attacked funerals and mosques, for them there is no limit. They are operating outside human values,” said Mehmood Shah, a retired security official in Peshawar. “They want to terrorize the population into submission.”

So that’s an example of a terrorist attack. This is 100% OK with people on the left, including self-proclaimed “Christians” who think that coddling terrorists is much better than saving innocent children from terrorists. They consider themselves moral – that’s why we need to see what they celebrate by opposing tough interrogation techniques.

One quick note: Barack Obama failed to blame the Taliban for the attack. It’s just workplace violence. Fort Hood was workplace violence. The attack on the Parliament was senseless violence. It’s never Islamic terrorism, because that would insult the terrorists and make them feel bad about what they did.

Now let’s have a defense of enhanced interrogation techniques with that example in mind.

This is also from the Wall Street Journal.

Bret Stephens writes:

I am not sorry Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times. KSM also murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in 2002. He boasted about it: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew,” he said after his capture.

I am sorry KSM remains alive nearly 12 years after his capture. He has been let off far too lightly. As for his waterboarding, it never would have happened if he had been truthful with his captors. It stopped as soon as he became cooperative. As far as I’m concerned, he waterboarded himself.

[…]I am not sorry Osama bin Laden died by an American bullet. John Brennan , the CIA director, delivered a master class in rhetorical obfuscation masquerading as epistemology when he waffled last week about the quality of intelligence yielded by the interrogations of KSM and other high-value detainees. But several former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have all attested to the link between KSM’s interrogation and the identification of bin Laden’s courier.

I am sorry that the Feinstein Report, which failed to interview those directors and thus has the credibility of a Rolling Stone article, seeks to deny this. Maybe Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the discredited University of Virginia gang-rape story and a pro at failing to interview key witnesses, will find a new career in Sen. Feinstein’s office.

[…]I am sorry that Mr. Cheney, and every other supporter of enhanced interrogation techniques, has to defend the practices as if they were torture. They are not. Waterboarding is part of the military’s standard course in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE. Tens of thousands of U.S. servicemen have gone through it. To describe this as “torture” is to strip the word of its meaning.

In my previous post on this, I wrote about how waterboarding KSM also prevented a 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Economist Thomas Sowell reminds us of the consequences of attacking the CIA, the military and the police.

He writes:

One of the most obscene acts of the Obama administration, when it first took office, was to launch a criminal investigation of CIA agents who had used harsh interrogation methods against captured terrorists in the wake of the devastating September 11, 2001 aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Right after those terrorist attacks, when there were desperate fears of what might be coming next, these CIA agents were trying to spare fellow Americans another attack that could take thousands more lives, or perhaps millions more. To turn on these agents, years later, after they did what they were urged to do, as a patriotic duty in a time of crisis, is both a betrayal of those who acted in the past and a disincentive to those in the future who are charged with safeguarding the nation.

[…]The ease with which politicians are willing to pull the rug out from under people whose job is to safeguard our lives — whether they are CIA agents, the police or the military — is not only a betrayal of those people but a danger to us all.

People who are constantly denouncing the police, including with demonstrable lies, may think they are showing solidarity with people in the ghettos. But, when police hesitate to go beyond “kinder and gentler” policing, that leaves decent people in black communities at the mercy of hoodlums and thugs who have no mercy.

When conscientious young people, of any race, who would like to help maintain peace and order see that being a policeman means having race hustlers constantly whipping up mob hostility against you — and having opportunistic politicians and the media joining the race hustlers — those young people may well decide that some other line of work would be better for them.

High crime areas need not only the most, but the best, police they can get. Taking cheap shots at cops is not the way to get the people who are needed.

When people who volunteer to put their lives on the line in the military to defend this country, at home and abroad, see their buddies killed on the battlefield, and sometimes themselves come back minus an arm or a leg, or with severe physical and mental damage that they may never get over — and then see some headstrong politician in the White House throw away everything they fought for, and see enemy forces take back places for which Americans shed their blood, that can be galling to them and a deterrent to others who might otherwise take their place in the future.

If we cannot see beyond the moment today, we will pay dearly tomorrow and in many more tomorrows.

How about you? Would you be tough on a terrorist in order to prevent an attack like the one on the Pakistan school? Toughness deters future aggression. Or would you rather let the children die? I don’t have any trouble assessing these alternatives.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Democrat leak of counter-terrorism secrets endangers Americans and alienates our allies

First off, let’s get the facts on the report that the Democrats want to release to the public, and to our enemies, today.

This article from the left-leaning McClatchy DC has most of the facts.

It says:

U.S. forces and diplomatic missions overseas braced on Monday for the release of the public version of a long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s use of torture after a U.S. intelligence community warning of a “heightened potential” for a “violent response,” U.S. officials said.

The report’s roughly 500-page executive summary, which the White House said would be unveiled on Tuesday, excoriates the CIA, concluding that it didn’t gain significant intelligence or the cooperation of detainees by using the harsh interrogation methods, had wrongly subjected some people to the procedures and misled the White House and Congress about the results.

The Democrat-led committee’s conclusions, which were obtained in April by McClatchy, are being fiercely disputed by current and former CIA officials, former President George W. Bush and senior officials of his administration, and some lawmakers, mostly Republicans. They contend that the program produced valuable information that disrupted terror plots and led to the capture of key al Qaida operatives.

[…]The committee voted in December 2012 to approve a final draft of a 6,300-page classified version of the report and an executive summary, findings and conclusions for release to the public. But the release was delayed by an uproar over CIA monitoring of the committee staff’s computers and a battle over administration demands to black out information that it contended could reveal the identities of undercover CIA officers and anger foreign governments.

So this is the issue – will CIA personnel be compromised? Will CIA techniques be compromised? Will America’s allies in national security be compromised? Will Americans die because our enemies are able to use this information to their advantage?

Let’s find out some more about the report:

Minority Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA were expected to release separate rebuttals rejecting the findings shortly after the report is made public.

[…]The investigation has been marred by an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the committee and the CIA over the agency’s monitoring of computers used by the Democratic staff to review the more than 6 million pages of emails, cables and other top-secret documents on which the report is based.

The CIA accused the Democratic staffers of removing without authorization highly classified documents from a top-secret agency reading room in Northern Virginia. The Justice Department declined to open criminal investigations into either matter, and – according to the Huffington Post – the Senate Sergeant at Arms Office, the chamber’s law enforcement agency, dropped an investigation looking into the alleged classified document removal allegation.

Let me be clear about this. Enhanced interrogation techniques were used on the mastermind of the 9/11 attack in order to prevent a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

These are the facts:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA. (Additional terrorist detainees were subjected to other “enhanced techniques” that included slapping, sleep deprivation, dietary limitations, and temporary confinement to small spaces — but not to water-boarding.)

Everyone who opposes enhanced interrogation techniques – be it the ACLU, libertarians, leftists, etc. – were all in favor of thousands of American civilians dying in another 9/11-style attack. Obama was in favor of that attack. Holder was in favor of that attack. Feinstein was in favor of that attack. That’s what it means for Democrats to coddle terrorists in order to sound moral by embracing evil as if it were good – it means Americans die. Democrats would rather that Americans die than that we poured water on men who planned terrorist attacks.

Here is an editorial that appeared in the leftist Washington Post by Jose Rodriguez, a 31-year veteran of the CIA who knows something about how enhanced interrogation techniques were used.

He writes about the Democrat’s report:

The report’s leaked conclusion,which has been reported on widely, that the interrogation program brought no intelligence value is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history. I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it (that would be me).

According to news accounts of the report, Feinstein and her supporters will say that the CIA violated American principles and hid the ugly truth from Congress, the White House and the public. When the report comes out, I expect that few of the critics who will echo Feinstein’s charges will have read it — and far fewer will read or understand the minority response and the CIA’s rebuttal.

The interrogation program was authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. government, judged legal by the Justice Department and proved effective by any reasonable standard. The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.

There’s great hypocrisy in politicians’ criticism of the CIA’s interrogation program. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, lawmakers urged us to do everything possible to prevent another attack on our soil. Members of Congress and the administration were nearly unanimous in their desire that the CIA do all that it could to debilitate and destroy al-Qaeda. The CIA got the necessary approvals to do so and kept Congress briefed throughout. But as our successes grew, some lawmakers’ recollections shrank in regard to the support they once offered.

[…]On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”

[…]If Feinstein, Rockefeller and other politicians were saying such things in print and on national TV, imagine what they were saying to us in private. We did what we were asked to do, we did what we were assured was legal, and we know our actions were effective. Our reward, a decade later, is to hear some of these same politicians expressing outrage for what was done and, even worse, mischaracterizing the actions taken and understating the successes achieved.

I’m confident that my former CIA colleagues who are still on the job will do what is necessary to protect the nation from new Islamic State and continuing al-Qaeda threats. But in the back of their minds will be the nagging thought that, as they carry out legal, authorized and necessary actions, they may be only a few years away from being criticized and second-guessed by the people who today are urging them onward to the “gates of hell.”

His previous Washington Post editorial is here.

So, how about you? Would you like to work for the CIA right now? Would you like to protect America from attacks like the Los Angeles attack, and then have your government come after you as a scapegoat, because it might help them to win an election? That’s what’s happening to current employees of the CIA who did their best to protect us – more than the corrupt community organizer and his gangster attorney general ever did.

I don’t know if I need to keep saying this, but waterboarding is a standard part of SERE training. We do it to all our pilots to train them in the event that they are captured.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can the Democrats be trusted to protect our national security?

A Washington Post editorial by three Republican senators highlights a persistent problem.

Excerpt:

Espionage is a dangerous business often seen only through a Hollywood lens. Yet the real-world operations, and lives, that inspire such thrillers are highly perishable. They depend on hundreds of hours of painstaking work and the ability to get foreigners to trust our government.

Sitting in a prison cell in Pakistan is one of those foreigners who trusted us. Shakil Afridi served as a key informant to the United States in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This brave physician put his life on the line to assist U.S. efforts to track down the most-wanted terrorist in the world, yet our government left him vulnerable to the Pakistani tribal justice system, which sentenced him to 33 years for treason. The imprisonment and possible torture of this courageous man — for aiding the United States in one of the most important intelligence operations of our time — coincides with a deeply damaging leak in another case.

The world learned a few weeks ago that U.S. intelligence agencies and partners had disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a civilian aircraft using an explosive device designed by an affiliate in Yemen. This disclosure revealed sources and methods that could make future successes more difficult to achieve. The public release of information surrounding such operations also risks the lives of informants and makes it more difficult to maintain productive partnerships with other intelligence agencies. These incidents paint a disappointing picture of this administration’s judgment when it comes to national security.

[…]The problem stems in part from the media’s insatiable desire for real-world information that makes intelligence operations look like those of filmmakers’ imaginations. That is understandable, but this hunger is fed by inexcusable contributions from current and former U.S. officials.

For example, why did the Obama administration hold a conference call May 7 with a collection of former government officials, some of whom work as TV contributors and analysts, to discuss the foiled bomb threat? In doing so, the White House failed to safeguard sensitive intelligence information that gave us an advantage over an adversary. Broadcasting highly classified information notifies every enemy of our tactics and every current and future partner of our inability to provide them the secrecy that often is the difference between life and death.

[…]When they leave Capitol Hill, former members of Congress and their staff are, by law, prohibited from petitioning their former congressional colleagues for up to two years. Yet nothing restricts former security officials from using their government contacts and experience to provide live commentary on breaking news stories.

Furthermore, nothing limits current officials from using their media contacts to control a story — or to even promote a big-budget movie. We were shocked to learn that the White House has also leaked classified details of the bin Laden raid to Hollywood filmmakers, including the confidential identities of elite U.S. military personnel.

The authors:

Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Marco Rubio, all Republicans, represent Indiana, North Carolina and Florida, respectively, in the U.S. Senate and are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Here’s my take: Democrats want to equalize influence between our country and countries like Iran, China and North Korea. One way they can do this is by undermining our ability to defend our interests abroad. It’s all part of the leftist dream of making everyone “equal” so that there are no disagreements. In a very real sense, leftists are responsible for enabling the human rights abuses and purges that go on in countries like Iran, China and North Korea. They don’t really think that things like shooting pro-Democracy protestors (Iran), coerced abortion (China) and executing Christians for distributing Bibles (North Korea), etc. should be opposed with American influence.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama administration leaked name of British agent who stopped Al Qaeda attack

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Here’s a disturbing update to last week’s amazing story about the U.S. mole who infiltrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted an airliner attack with a more sophisticated underwear bomb.

Someone in Washington whose boss stood to gain from an election year story about alert intelligence operatives successfully protecting American voters at great personal risk leaked the heroic story to the Associated Press. The AP held the story until Obama administration sources said the CIA operative was safe.

But, it turns out, the mole was not a CIA operative. The Obama administration had nothing to do with the operation and, in fact, didn’t even know about it until recently. Somehow such details got lost in all the excited espionage news coverage about the bomb that didn’t go off.

The sting was, in reality, an operation by Britain’s MI6 intelligence service (see photo above of its unassuming headquarters tucked away in an obscure corner of London). It used a Yemeni native with dual British and Saudi citizenship with the cooperation of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service.

And the folks overseas who actually conceived and executed the risky work are none too happy about their loose-lipped American cousins trying to bolster someone’s domestic political standing by leaking the story prematurely, destroying the agent’s cover and future usefulness. And possibly betraying that agent’s contacts within Yemen.

[…]Without the excited U.S. news coverage, the agent, who reportedly did escape safely once word was flashed about the impending AP leak story, could have still been providing further intelligence on the location of al Qaeda leaders in Yemen, which resulted in only one successful drone strike before word got out, resulting in the explosive demise of senior leader Fahd al-Quso.

According to Britain’s Guardian, CIA professionals are furious at Obama administration officials for leaking the information for obvious political gain.

The newspaper reported: “Mike Scheur, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. ‘MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president.'”

Shashank Joshi, a British researcher, wrote in the Telegraph: “These unthinking leaks are reckless and irresponsible acts of posturing that could have far-reaching implications for counterterrorism operations in the future.”

This isn’t the first time,or even the second time, or even the third time, that we have seen these foreign policy blunders. Foreign policy and national security just are not their thing – just like economic policy isn’t their thing.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ex-CIA chief Jose Rodriguez says Nancy Pelosi lied about waterboarding

Story from the Daily Beast.

Excerpt:

The CIA’s former top spook, unable for years to respond publicly to criticism of his role in waterboarding terrorist suspects after 9/11, is finally getting the chance to answer his critics. And to launch a counterattack.

In a memoir being published Monday and obtained by The Daily Beast, the former CIA official Jose Rodriguez defends the waterboarding program and says he was right in 2005 to order the destruction of videotapes of the harsh interrogation sessions, in which suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were held down and subjected to a simulated drowning.

In his book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives, Rodriguez, a career undercover CIA officer who headed the agency’s clandestine services from 2004 until his retirement in 2007, tries to turn the table on his critics, identifying many people—in and out of the United States government—who, he says, have hindered the fight against Al Qaeda and other international terrorist networks.

According to Rodriguez, Nancy Pelosi lied when she claimed she was not informed about the use of waterboarding:

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other CIA critics in Congress. Rodriguez challenges Pelosi’s assertion that, while a ranking member of the House intelligence committee after 9/11, she was not informed in detail about the use of waterboarding.

“Pelosi said that we only briefly mentioned waterboarding and left the impression that it had not been used,” Rodriguez writes, insisting that the California Democrat was fully briefed—by Rodriguez himself—about waterboarding and its use. “ He says that Pelosi was explicitly briefed on waterboarding and posed no objection to the technique. “I know she got it.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that she, like almost all Americans less than a year after, wanted us to be aggressive to make sure that Al Qaeda wasn’t able to replicate their attack.” He writes that “Pelosi was another member of Congress reinventing the truth.”

And he takes a shot at the Obama administration:

The Obama administration. Rodriguez says President Obama has abandoned interrogation techniques—including waterboarding—that allowed the CIA to prevent terrorist attacks after 9/11. He said the administration has become too reliant instead of the use of missile-armed drones in Pakistan and elsewhere to kill, instead of to capture, terrorists.

“Drones can be a highly effective way of dealing with high-priority targets,” Rodriguez writes. “But they should not become the drug of choice for an administration that is afraid to use successful, legal and safe tactics of the past.” He adds, “Needless to say, there is no opportunity to interrogate or learn anything from a suspect who is vaporized by a missile launched by a keystroke executed thousands of miles away.”

Right Scoop posted an interview with Jose Rodriguez, in which he explains that he personally briefed Pelosi on the waterboarding.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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