Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Experts dismiss usefulness of harsh interrogations in bin Laden hunt

Spectators and media members stand behind Pakistani police officers blocking a street Wednesday that leads into the compound of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Associated Press

Spectators and media members stand behind Pakistani police officers blocking a street Wednesday that leads into the compound of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

WASHINGTON — Even as a chorus of Bush administration officials claimed vindication for their policy of "enhanced interrogation techniques," like waterboarding, a closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying bin Laden's trusted courier and exposing his hideout.

One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to the New York Times, which cited current and former officials briefed on the interrogations.

But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier's identity.

Glenn L. Carle, a retired CIA officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002, said this week that coercive techniques "didn't provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information." He said that while some of his colleagues defended the measures, "Everyone was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work."

Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, said, "The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there."

Pakistanis begin investigation

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani military has taken charge of investigations into the circumstances that allowed Osama bin Laden to reside quietly in a three-story house on the edge of town, the New York Times reported.

Military intelligence investigators returned to the house on Wednesday and spent most of the day working inside the compound, while the army and the police barred journalists and others from approaching the area.

The intelligence agencies have detained at least 11 people for questioning, including an immediate neighbor who once worked with the family, and the construction manager who built the house, Pakistani news organizations reported. They have also taken into custody the bodies of four people killed when Navy SEALs made an air-assault on the house early Monday.

According to the Times' report, Pakistani security officials said three women and nine children found in the house after the raid are also in the custody of the intelligence services. The newspaper reported that one security official said at least two are related to bin Laden: a 12- or 13-year-old daughter and his wife, who was shot in the leg but has received hospital care and is out of danger.

Afghan general blasts Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gen. Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's defense ministry, criticized Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, which has claimed that it was unaware that bin Laden had been living for years in the military garrison town of Abbottabad.

"If the Pakistani intelligence agency does not know about a home located 10 meters or 100 meters away from its national military academy, where for the last six years the biggest terrorist is living, how can this country take care of its strategic weapons?" Azimi said. "How could they be satisfied that their strategic weapons are not in danger?"

He added that if Pakistan's intelligence did in fact know the whereabouts of bin Laden, then "they are playing a double game."

The Afghan government has said repeatedly that the roots of the insurgency are in Pakistan and that the United States has been waging war in the wrong country.

Other news of note

• Support for President Barack Obama has risen sharply following the killing of bin Laden, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president's job performance, up from 46 percent last month.

• Doctored photos purporting to show bin Laden's corpse have rocketed around the world on TV, online and in print. The pictures have spread without regard for their origin or whether the images are real. Meanwhile, scammers have piggybacked on the popularity of the images and spiked supposed online links with computer viruses.

• The Dalai Lama suggested the United States was justified in killing bin Laden. Speaking Tuesday to about 3,000 students at the University of Southern California, the 75-year-old Tibetan leader said bin Laden, as a human being, may have deserved compassion and even forgiveness. But the Los Angeles Times said the Dalai Lama added: "Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened." He said it is sometimes necessary to take countermeasures.

• Attorney General Eric Holder expressed serious concern about the possibility of attacks on Americans as revenge. He also predicted the terrorist watch list will be expanded based on evidence collected in the al-Qaida leader's home. Holder also said the raid was "entirely lawful and consistent with our values."

• A House panel approved $10.5 billion for Special Operations Command and its Navy SEALs unit. By voice vote, the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities agreed to the increase of about 7 percent from the current level.

• The construction worker from Colorado who flew last year to Pakistan on a one-man mission to hunt down bin Laden says he played a part in his death forcing bin Laden out of the mountains where he supposedly was hiding. Gary Faulkner said Wednesday he'd like one-quarter of the $25 million reward that was offered for hunting down bin Laden. He said he'd use it for his nonprofit foundation.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Experts dismiss usefulness of harsh interrogations in bin Laden hunt 05/04/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  2. Two girls reported missing in New Port Richey

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two girls, ages 5 and 16, were reported missing Saturday, New Port Richey police said.

  3. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game

    Colleges

    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.