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Washington - Panetta: U.S. Didn't Need Rough Interrogation To Get Bin Laden

Published on: February 3, 2013 06:01 PM
By: Reuters
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A sculpture of Osama Bin Laden, created by Cuban artists Alberto Lorente and Manolo Castro, is being exhibited at the 11th Art Biennial of Havana, Cuba, on 14 May 2012. EPA/Alejandro ErnestoA sculpture of Osama Bin Laden, created by Cuban artists Alberto Lorente and Manolo Castro, is being exhibited at the 11th Art Biennial of Havana, Cuba, on 14 May 2012. EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

Washington - Leon Panetta, who as CIA director oversaw the U.S. operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said the job could have been done without resorting to controversial interrogation methods that some have said constitute torture.

The outgoing defense secretary, in remarks aired Sunday on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” said there had been many pieces to the “puzzle” solved to find bin Laden, who was held responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

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“Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time - interrogation tactics that were used,” said Panetta, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2009 until he became U.S. defense secretary on July 1, 2011.

“I think we could have gotten Bin Laden without that,” Panetta added in response to a question about what the interviewer called enhanced interrogation or torture.

Panetta did not elaborate on how this might have been done, but said most of the intelligence used to find bin Laden had been stitched together without resort to enhanced interrogation.

He was commenting on the 2012 film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which portrayed the hunt that led to the successful May 2, 2011, raid on the al-Qaeda leader’s hideout in Pakistan.

Some CIA veterans have defended the use of harsh techniques such as sleep deprivation, hypothermia, stress positions, slapping and waterboarding, to obtain information that helped get bin Laden. Waterboarding, in which a drowning sensation is inflicted on a captive, is often described as torture.

Jose Rodriguez, who played a key role in setting up and administering the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program, recently traced an early break in the bin Laden hunt to a detainee subjected to what Rodriguez called enhanced interrogation short of waterboarding.

From this detainee came, in 2004, the first substantive information about bin Laden’s courier, according to Rodriguez, author of “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives.”

“After obtaining this essential lead on the courier, years of meticulous intelligence work followed,” he wrote in a January 3 essay in the Washington Post.

Having covert prisons abroad known as black sites and “compliant terrorists,” the CIA was able to go back to detainees to check leads, ask follow-up questions and clarify information, said Rodriguez, head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Service from 2002 to 2004 and then director of the National Clandestine Service until late 2007.

“Without that capacity, we would have been lost,” he wrote.


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1

 Feb 03, 2013 at 06:34 PM Anonymous Says:

I'm not sure it will make a difference what Panetta or anyone else with direct knowledge of the killing of Bin Laden will say. The neo-cons will go to their graves insisting that the waterboarding and other illegal interrogation that the Bush/Cheney types engaged in was effective when just about everyone involved says no.

2

 Feb 03, 2013 at 08:27 PM I HATE LIBERALS!! Says:

He is so full of himself. We know the yishmaeli starting singing like a canary, when he was under 'enhanced' interrogation. He wasn't talking till he was roughed up a bit. I personally wouldn't care if they ripped out toe nails!

3

 Feb 03, 2013 at 09:09 PM Anonymous Says:

It is basic g-d-given common sense that someone who is being tortured will provide more information then someone who is being treated well.

Now, if a person lives in a binary world, where all information is either absolutely true or absolutely false, and one can never tell which is which, then by all means, don't ever try to get more information from anyone. Treat everyone with the utmost respect and courtesy, even if there is good reason to think he has vital information.

However, in the real world, information provided, whether under torture or because of the threat of withholding afternoon tea, can frequently be verified, followed up on, or can lead to other people/information. In this world, it is actually beneficial to have more information, and then act appropriately with respect to it.

4

 Feb 03, 2013 at 09:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
I HATE LIBERALS!! Says:

He is so full of himself. We know the yishmaeli starting singing like a canary, when he was under 'enhanced' interrogation. He wasn't talking till he was roughed up a bit. I personally wouldn't care if they ripped out toe nails!

You personally wouldn't care if it was your m'chutenem who were being interrogated in such a manner if they were "liberals"..... The terrorist who the Repubicans claim "started singing" under torture has never provided any direct or indirect information leading to UBL. The CIA has said so, the DIA has said so but YOU know better....

5

 Feb 03, 2013 at 10:48 PM InsideOne Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

It is basic g-d-given common sense that someone who is being tortured will provide more information then someone who is being treated well.

Now, if a person lives in a binary world, where all information is either absolutely true or absolutely false, and one can never tell which is which, then by all means, don't ever try to get more information from anyone. Treat everyone with the utmost respect and courtesy, even if there is good reason to think he has vital information.

However, in the real world, information provided, whether under torture or because of the threat of withholding afternoon tea, can frequently be verified, followed up on, or can lead to other people/information. In this world, it is actually beneficial to have more information, and then act appropriately with respect to it.

The real world you describe exists only in your imagination. Those with true real-world experience have told us time and time again that when people are being tortured, they definitely talk - but they say whatever it is they think their torturers want to hear, not the truth what we really need - the information received tends to be useless.

6

 Feb 04, 2013 at 06:51 AM SG11224 Says:

Get your head out of the clouds. Learn from history do NOT forget it.
When the Belski Bros. caught a collaborator they tortured them and THEN shot of or hing them, to send a message , loud and clear to future collaborators. What did they get from that, info used to sabotage rail lines and troops
Now we ONLY have over 20,000 yidden thanking them for those tactics every day.
They saved a nation using those tactics, and politics were NOT in play.

7

 Feb 04, 2013 at 08:33 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

You know the really scary part? When America put out ads for torturers, people applied for the jobs.

That makes me very sad.

8

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