Even John McCain Agrees: Torture Did Not Help Us Find bin Laden
Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, a whole host of Republicans, pundits and former Vice Presidents have tried to conflate the information that led to him with the use of torture (or, for polite society, “enhanced interrogation techniques”). Dick Cheney in particular has been falling all over himself to justify the waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other techniques employed at Guantanamo on his watch, but now the anti-torture movement has gained another GOP ally – John McCain.
In an op-ed published today in the Washington Post,the former prisoner of war eloquently admonishes the use of torture, and explicitly denies it had any involvement in finding bin Laden. He also sets the record straight on exactly what led to him:
But this must be an informed debate. Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.
I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.
McCain then makes the case that torture is un-American and defense of it is a travesty. It's a must read.