Waterboarding Vindicated By Bin Laden’s Death! Hooray!

Let me just put it this way: waterboarding isn’t torture. I’m not the least bit sorry, embarrassed, or troubled that it was used at Guantanamo Bay. In fact, I wouldn’t have been troubled if it had been used on fifty times as many prisoners. They’re terrorists who use real torture on our men. Stop crying into your pillow about how tough they have it. Last but not least, I hope the United States uses waterboarding again after Obama is out of office. — John Hawkins, May 29, 2009

Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information and that was true here… It’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got… I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question. — Leon Panetta

I think that anyone who suggests that enhanced techniques — let’s be blunt, waterboarding, did not produce an enormous amount of valuable intelligence, just isn’t facing the truth. The facts are, a General Mike Hayden came in, he had no connection with waterboarding anybody. He looked at all the evidence and concluded that a major fraction of the intelligence in our country on al-Qaeda came from individuals, the three, only three people who were waterboarded. — Donald Rumsfeld

Sunday’s success also vindicates the Bush administration, whose intelligence architecture marked the path to bin Laden’s door. According to current and former administration officials, CIA interrogators gathered the initial information that ultimately led to bin Laden’s death. The United States located al Qaeda’s leader by learning the identity of a trusted courier from the tough interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and his successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi.

Armed with the courier’s nom de guerre, American intelligence agencies later found him thanks to his phone call to a contact already under electronic surveillance. Last August, the courier traveled to bin Laden’s compound, but it took another eight months before the CIA became certain that the al Qaeda leader was hiding inside.

…Imagine what would have happened if the Obama administration had been running things immediately following 9/11. After their “arrest,” we would have read KSM and al-Libi their Miranda rights, provided them legal counsel, sent them to the U.S. for detention, and granted them all the rights provided a U.S. citizen in criminal proceedings.

If this had happened, the CIA could not have built the intelligence mosaic that pinpointed bin Laden’s location. Without the intelligence produced by Bush policies, the SEAL helicopters would be idling their engines at their Afghanistan base even now. In the war on terror, it is easy to pull the trigger–it is hard to figure out where to aim. — John Yoo

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