CIA “deniers” are the new birthers

May 10, 2011

Leftist critics of rough interrogation techniques continue to deny –in the face of all evidence– that the techniques used at Guantanamo Bay and in the CIA’s “black prisons” in Eastern Europe contributed in any meaningful way to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Marc Thiessen disagrees, and he cites a source Lefties will have a hard time denying:

The evidence that CIA interrogations played a key role in the operation that got Osama bin Laden is overwhelming. Countless intelligence officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta, have confirmed that detainees interrogated by the CIA provided information that helped lead us to bin Laden. But the CIA deniers continue to insist it is all a “big lie.” Despite this testimony, and the mountains of documents declassified by the Obama administration in 2009, they contend that CIA interrogations did not work.

Well, if they won’t believe these sources, perhaps they’ll believe WikiLeaks.

I doubt it was Julian Assange’s intent to provide still additional evidence of the effectiveness of CIA interrogations, but that is precisely what WikiLeaks’ “Gitmo Files” do. Take, for example, the file on Abu Faraj al-Libi — one of several CIA detainees who helped lead the agency to bin Laden’s courier. The document describes Abu Faraj as the “communications gateway” to bin Laden who once in custody “reported on al-Qai’das methods for choosing and employing couriers, as well as preferred communications means.” Based on intelligence obtained from Abu Faraj and other CIA detainees, it states that “in July 2003, [Abu Faraj] received a letter from UBL’s designated courier” (to whom he referred by a false name, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan) in which “UBL stated [Abu Faraj] would be the official messenger between UBL and others in Pakistan.” The file also notes a vital piece of intelligence: To better carry out his new duties “in mid-2003, [Abu Faraj] moved his family to Abbottabad” — the city where bin Laden eventually met his end — “and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar.” And the file reveals that “in mid-April 2005, [Abu Faraj] began arranging for a store front to be used as a meeting place and drop point for messages he wanted to exchange” with bin Laden’s courier and was captured while waiting to meet him.

It is a miracle that al-Qaeda leaders did not read this classified document before bin Laden was killed. If they had, they would have been alerted to the fact that the CIA was on the trail of bin Laden’s courier, and they would had made the connection between the courier, bin Laden and Abbottabad — which could have blown the bin Laden operation.

In other words, waterboarding worked and, again, saved lives.

That sound you hear is the sound of heads exploding all over MSNBC… .

LINKS: My blog-buddy ST on an earlier Thiessen article.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama won’t tell Holder to back off on his CIA witch hunt

May 6, 2011

Remember, these are the same people who got the initial leads to the courier who eventually lead us to bin Laden. And yet, as reported in this interview with Debra Burlingame, Obama has said that he will not tell Attorney General Eric Holder to end his investigation persecution of these CIA operatives — nor will he even talk to Holder about it:

Utterly disgraceful. “Thanks for leading us to bin Laden, guys. Here’s your reward: possible prosecution. Better start paying some lawyers a retainer. Hope you have enough savings.”

Granted, the position of the Attorney General is unique in the Cabinet: a president should never attempt to interfere in an ongoing case or use the Justice Department to go after foes or favor cronies. That’s the dread “politicization.’ President Bush’s last AG, Michael Mukasey, was very strict about that.

But these are investigations that should never have been undertaken in the first place. The interrogators in question had already been cleared of wrongdoing by career attorneys in the Justice Department. There was no reason to reopen the case, but Holder did anyway — and don’t tell me it wasn’t with Obama’s approval.

This case already stinks to Heaven-on-high of politicization meant to appease Obama’s anti-war, anti-CIA, and anti-American base. Dropping it would be doing no less than justice, something that’s been missing at the Department of Justice for nearly three years, now.

And think about the national security implications: After 9-11, we were desperate to get a lead on the people who had attacked us. DoJ lawyers at the time drew up guidelines for how prisoners could be interrogated, including the circumstances under which waterboarding was appropriate. The interrogators —who were trying to keep any more of us from being killed— acted in good faith under those guidelines. And they succeeded. To tell them that they are still vulnerable to criminal liability is to tell any future CIA (or other US official) that they, too, might be investigated and prosecuted at some future date, regardless of what they were told at the time. Just how effectively do you think they’ll do their job with that hanging over their heads?

These men and women should be given thanks, not the back of the hand.

ADDENDUM: No, I don’t think waterboarding is torture. Neither does Marc Thiessen, who wrote a great book on how Obama is courting disaster. But, even if it is torture, Charles Krauthammer writes that there are times when it is the lesser evil. And, to be honest, I’m still glad they did it. And yes, I’ve changed my thinking about whether waterboarding is torture. So there.

LINKS: Linda Chavez thinks the interrogators should be rewarded, not punished. Power Line is puzzled. Europe can’t resist its post-modern dementia and is starting to talk about “war crimes” in the assassination of bin Laden. And the UN, God love’em, wants details on the raid to make sure it was all legal. You can guess my opinion of the UN and its request.

EDIT: Updated to fix an errant link, 2/3/2013

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’m glad they tortured him

April 22, 2009

By now anyone reading this blog has likely heard of the so-called torture memos, memoranda written by Justice Department lawyers soon after the 9/11 attacks and released several days ago by the Obama administration.  They were commissioned to determine the boundaries of permissible interrogation techniques to be used on captured terrorists. Included among these methods was waterboarding, which, when revealed, was widely decried as torture. For the record, I agree with Ed Morrissey that the argument regarding waterboarding in the relevant memo is strained and forced to fit a desired conclusion: interrogators wanted a proven, last-ditch method available. However, a thoughtful reading of the relevant statute strongly suggests that waterboarding violates US law.

For the record, however, I’m glad they did it; they likely saved my life:

Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. The memo explains that “information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave.’ ” In other words, without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one in New York.

(hat tip: Sister Toldjah)

I live in Los Angeles. So do many people I work with, call “friend,” and care deeply about. While Khalid Sheikh Mohammed says the target was the downtown library tower, hijacked planes could have been crashed anywhere. I can easily imagine a plane commandeered at LAX turning north and flying straight up the San Diego Freeway to Westwood — plenty of tall buildings there, with thousands of infidels to kill for Allah. Or maybe Century City, or the Port of Los Angeles. Those unholy warriors could have struck anywhere, and thousands more would have died.

I’m glad they waterboarded them.

Oh, I can hear it now. Some starry-eyed do-gooder will whine that torture is immoral, that it lowers us to the enemy’s level. Or maybe some sanctimonious prat will sniff and remind us that torture is against international law. To both of them I say “pull your heads out of your backsides and join the real world.”

The immorality argument is just plain stupid. Let me pose this question. If you have reason to believe a catastrophic attack could take place at any time and that someone you’re holding has information that could prevent it, and that you have no other way to get that information before the attack takes place, what would you do: would you keep your conscience lily-white and run the real risk of thousands of dead innocents, or would you subject your suspect to a few minutes of agony to save those lives, knowing that he would not die or suffer permanent harm? That is the choice faced by American interrogators in the weeks and months after 9/11, and the choice they made saved many, many people from horrible deaths.

Probably including me.

If, on the other hand, you chose to protect your conscience, I put it to you that your refusal to torture in this kind of a situation is rank immorality. You would prefer your peace of mind to the lives of everyone else around you? You’re no better than the guy flying the plane.

And the fool hiding behind the letter of the law? Same problem. You would rather people die than see your precious law broken, law that is meant to be a reflection of our morality, not supersede it. If the law says we can’t use “enhanced techniques” to save lives in imminent danger, then the law is an ass. And the law needs to be changed to reflect the real world, not some fantasyland that exists only in movies or novels — or law review articles.

Bear in mind, I’m not saying torture should be used in all cases, nor even many. But, in a lit-fuse scenario when we have a technique of proven effectiveness available — yes, waterboard him, and keep doing it until he talks. It isn’t nice, it isn’t pleasant, it won’t make us liked in the world, but it would be the only moral thing to do.

Like I said, I’m grateful they tortured him. You should be, too.

UPDATE 11/12/10: While I say above that waterboarding seems to cross the line of legality, I’ve been persuaded by the arguments made by Marc Thiessen in his book Courting Disaster, specifically Chapter 5: the “enhanced techniques” used, including waterboarding, are not torture as defined by the law. I highly recommend his book for anyone who wants to be informed in this debate.