Guantanamo Interrogations Reportedly Led to Bin Laden

by Greg McNeal

Over at Lawfare Ben Wittes aks Will Bin Laden’s Death Reignite the Interrogation Debate? I think there is little doubt that it will.

Consider this recent post by Marc Thiessen over at The American Enterprise blog.  Thiessen writes:

“So Guantanamo detainees provided the key intelligence that allowed the CIA to track down bin Laden. But not just any Guantanamo detainees. It turns out the detainees in question were KSM and Abu Faraj al-Libi…Before coming to Gitmo, both were held by the CIA as part of the agency’s enhanced interrogation program, and provided the information that led to bin Laden’s death after undergoing interrogation by the CIA. In other words, the crowning achievement of Obama’s presidency came as a direct result of the CIA interrogation program he has denigrated and shut down.”

His source?  A New York Times report that notes:

As Obama administration officials described it, the real breakthrough came when they finally figured out the name and location of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, whom the Qaeda chief appeared to rely on to maintain contacts with the outside world.

Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé o Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated.

Cross posted at LawandTerrorism

 

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/05/02/guantanamo-interrogations-reportedly-led-to-bin-laden/

6 Responses

  1. Response…
    But WHEN was the information learned — note the word “finally” and the phrase “Obama administration officials” — so it was this year? using proper and tried and true interrogation tactics under the new military manual, etc.? 

  2. Hi Jordan,

    The full report says the information was gathered 4 years ago.  The key piece of information was the name of the courier.  That wasn’t correlated with a person on the ground until this year, and finally connected to a house in August of this year.  It will be interesting to see how this all develops.

    -Greg

  3. Response…
    I see that CNN posts something about intelligence identified the courier about two years ago (May, 2009 ?) and the house was located last Aug. (2010).  More will probably come out.

  4. Down below I posted that the “torture works” meme was already started up at lawfareblog.com and keepamericasafe.com.  Now I see how it has migrated here and is metastatizing across the internet right now no doubt.

    The relevant press briefing is here.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/02/press-briefing-senior-administration-officials-killing-osama-bin-laden
    As Greg notes, the theory seems to be that the key courier was one for KSM and Al-Libbi and so their torture was how we got the name. 
    From what I can see, the press briefing speaks generally of detainees but does not address the question of whether this intelligence came from the torture. 

    What is being provided appears to be being instrumentalized to have us think that the torture worked in some sense. 

    I do not know the timeline and I doubt that a true accounting will ever be provided, unless in a court of law.

    This studied ambiguity leaving an impression that torture was of some role in this serves the purpose of deflecting efforts to go after those who tortured. 

    More of the “acquiescence to torture” machine at work.  Refluat Stercus.
    Best,
    Ben

  5. Response… Don’t see where using illegal methods were necessary to obtain the information provided.  Interrogation is not the same as waterboarding and the other stuff Obama disallowed.  And, torture isn’t suddenly acceptable if it now and then works on some level. 

    Try again, torture defenders. 

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