Torture useless in hunt for bin Laden

“I think that without a doubt, torture and enhanced interrogation techniques slowed down the hunt for bin Laden,” Matthew Alexander told The Huffington Post.

Alexander, an Air Force interrogator, was able to successfully locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006.

Alexander, along with other intelligence professionals, said the use of torture may cause people to lie or make false confessions.

“They gave us the bare minimum amount of information they could get away with to get the pain to stop, or to mislead us,” Alexander said of several Guantanamo Bay detainees.

“[Osama bin Laden’s death] vindicates the Bush administration, whose intelligence architecture marked the path to bin Laden’s door,” John Yoo, the former Justice Department official under the Bush administration who authored the secret ‘torture memos,’ said on Monday. Under Bush, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” i.e. torture, was legally sanctioned.

A 2006 study by the National Defense Intelligence College found that rapport-based interrogations are very effective in obtaining information, whereas coercion involving physical brutality consistently builds resistance and resentment.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, repeatedly misled interrogators on a key al-Qaeda suspect, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Sheikh Mohammad, who has reportedly been waterboarded 183 times in one month, has been subjected to other physical abuses upon being detained by US authorities.

“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003,” spokesman for the National Security Council Tommy Vietor said.

Glenn L. Carle, a retired CIA officer said that torture, “didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information,” in tracking down bin Laden.

LF/PKH/MMN

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Bin Laden raid renews debate on interrogations: USA Today

When Barack Obama became president, he announced an end to the enhanced interrogations of al-Qaeda leaders at secret detention facilities that his predecessor, George W. Bush, said were essential to breaking up terror networks in the long-term.

Obama instead ramped up the targeted killing of terrorists with drone strikes, taking out many more than under Bush.

But the revelation that tips prodded from captured al-Qaeda members subjected to “enhanced interrogations” led to the capture of Osama bin Laden has ignited a debate over whether Obama should revisit the policies he cast aside.

John Yoo, the Bush White House lawyer who ruled that terror suspects were “enemy combatants” could be handled outside the criminal justice system said the United States is “losing vital intelligence opportunities if we are killing bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders when we have the opportunity to capture them.”

Michael Vietor, spokesman for Obama’s National Security Council, said the value of the enhanced interrogation techniques has been overblown.

“It’s impossible to know whether information obtained by EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) could have been obtained by other forms of interrogation,” Vietor said. “There’s no way that information obtained by EITs was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden.”

Other CIA operatives say the program was ineffective in the long-term.
Glenn Carle, a former CIA operations officer who interrogated a suspected al-Qaeda leader, said the Bush detainee program was “a hugely labor-intensive operation” that’s “not sustainable for a large number of people over an extended period of time.” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was eventually found and killed without enhanced interrogation techniques, said Matthew Alexander, a retired Air Force officer and interrogator.

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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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