Former CIA Interrogator: Painstaking Intelligence Work, Not Torture, Responsible For Bin Laden Capture

What if a tiny piece of information that led to bin Laden came from torture or EITs? Today, Glenn Carle — who served 23 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and for a time led the interrogation of a high value detainee — told ThinkProgress that if it the answer is yes, the right-wing will use that and say, “See torture works.” While Carle said it’s possible that EITs might provide information, that doesn’t mean they should ever be used:

CARLE: Well I change the tense and say not that they will use that but that they are using that within I think four hours of the announcement that bin Laden’s death.

Ultimately you get to an ends means debate. … The ends does not justify the means and you don’t build a policy, in this instance with regard to acceptable legal procedures, based upon the hypothetical, theoretical case which is five or ten standard deviations from the norm which happens one time in 5 million. What you do is you base your policies on an ever-changing calculus of probability likelihood and what is considered liked and works. And the answer to all of those questions should quite clearly exclude EITs. Is it possible that a specific piece of information from time to time would come from EITs? The answer is yes. To be fair the answer is yes. Does it justify using them? A categorical flat no.

Carle also said that during his time at CIA, “almost all the information obtained from EITs was recalled…because it was viewed as unreliable.”

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Bin Laden’s Death Rekindles Torture Debate

The killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has reignited the debate over torture. Advocates of “enhanced interrogation techniques” argue the mission validates their position, while others contend that tough questioning played a small role.

Former Bush administration officials, such as John Yoo, who authored memos justifying the techniques, and members of Congress, such as House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., were quick to claim vindication. However, The New York Times reported that the techniques played a small role at best in identifying the courier that led to bin Laden’s lair.

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Assessment of Al Qaeda

Assessment of Al Qaeda

Following Steve Coll’s open remarks, panelists assessed the al-Qaeda threat 10 years after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001. All of the panelists agreed that while the threat from al-Qaeda remains, it has significantly diminished over the last 10 years. They answered questions from audience members at the end of the discussion.

Speaking on Al Qaeda then and now…

Click Here to see the panel video on C-SPAN…

Glenn on PBS NewsHour – Al-Qaida ‘On the Run,’

JIM LEHRER: The CIA has Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders on the run. That’s according to CIA Director Leon Panetta. He told The Washington Post this morning: “It’s pretty clear, from all the intelligence we are getting that — all the intelligence we are getting they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling.”

And Panetta attributed the success, in part, to improved relations with Pakistan, saying, “We do a lot more operations together.”

Click here to see PBS transcript…

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