The latest line has been that the way we caught Osama was thanks to waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay, a claim that came pretty much solely from Peter King on O’Reilly saying he knew (along with a few others) that waterboarding had been used “several years” ago to gain intelligence on the courier that got us on the path that led to Bin Laden.
Unfortunately, the guy who was the Secretary of Defense at the time, Donny Rumblesfield, talked to our favorite right-wing news outlet Newsmax to blow that line out of the water.When NEWSMAX is quoting RUMSFELD that the intel leading to OBL wasn’t attained via waterboarding, you can take that shit to the bank. Maybe, anyway.
Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
He’s claiming that no one was waterboarded or interrogated “harshly”. That’s a bit hazy, but I’m truly hoping it’s true. After all, whether you agree with waterboarding or not, it’s still illegal.
The flipside here is that, of all people, Rummy would be a prime candidate to crow about waterboarding working if it had been used. That had been a black eye on his tenure and was a big reason he was pushed out. So this would have been the perfect time for him to stand up on a milk crate and declare that Bush’s administration had pushed for waterboarding for a good damn reason.
So now it’s a war of words between a Congressmen (admittedly on the Homeland Security Committee) and the SecDef. Applying Occam’s Razor and seeing who has the bigger axe to grind, not to mention looking at who would have the bigger motivation to lie, I’ve gotta go with Rummy for the first time. Mark your calendars, Hanlon is putting his eggs in Donald Rumsfeld’s basket for the first time.
Side note: even if it was waterboarding, that really wrecks the whole “ticking time bomb” scenario doesn’t it? “Waterboarding works! We tortured a guy and it only took eight years to capture bin Laden!”
UPDATE: We have further information, from the CIA via ABC News, that waterboarding was not used. In fact, it was a simple monitored phone call. This contradicts Rumsfeld’s claim that no waterboarding was used at all, but it confirms that it wasn’t what led to the courier.
[Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed did not discuss al-Kuwaiti while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He acknowledged knowing him many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.
[In] the middle of last year, [the courier, Sheikh Abu Ahmed,] had a telephone conversation with someone being monitored by U.S. intelligence, according to an American official, who like others interviewed for this story spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. Ahmed was located somewhere away from bin Laden’s hideout when he had the discussion, but it was enough to help intelligence officials locate and watch Ahmed.