Thursday, May 05, 2011

Osama bin Laden: Public Interest Group says Previously Unreleased Detainee Documents Demonstrate Value of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques"

SOURCE Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that documents recently obtained by JW from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) demonstrate the valuable information gained by so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," that ultimately led to the recent capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Judicial Watch obtained the documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

In March 2011, Judicial Watch released documents obtained from the DOD detailing the policies of the Bush administration related to the detention of "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the significant risks posed to the general population if the detainees were released. The documents include a February 4, 2004, draft presentation entitled "Guantanamo Detainees" previously marked "Not for Public Dissemination." It specifically references the role of "couriers" in the bin Laden network, noting that enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay include "members of al Qaida's international terrorism support network, including financiers, couriers, recruiters and operatives."

The DOD documents obtained by Judicial Watch further state that "Detainees have revealed al-Qaida leadership structures, operatives, funding mechanisms, communications methods, training and selection programs, travel patterns, support infrastructures, and plans for attacking the United States and other countries" and "information on UBL's (sic) personal security procedures."

This is consistent with documents previously obtained in a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit that detail the overall effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against captured terrorists. According to a June 1, 2005, CIA report entitled, Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al-Qa'ida, "Detainee reporting accounts for more than half of all HUMINT reporting on al-Qa'ida since the program began..." Interestingly, this fact was omitted in later versions of the report obtained by Judicial Watch. All versions, however, conclude: "One of the gains to detaining the additional terrorists has been the thwarting of a number of al-Qa'ida operations in the United States and overseas."

Following the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, multiple news outlets stated intelligence from detainees identified the courier who ultimately led Navy Seals to the front door of the million-dollar compound that housed bin Laden. According to The Washington Times: "The debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration is being rekindled by the successful operation against Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, which was based on information about the courier extracted from detained terror suspects."

Despite the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation techniques," the federal government suspended their use in 2005 by passing the Detainee Treatment Act. President Obama officially banned the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" during his first week in office in January 2009. Two months later, in March 2009, President Obama overruled objections from national security officials and released documents detailing the government's enhanced interrogation program (the so-called "torture" memos). However, President Obama initially withheld information detailing the results of this program, including alleged terrorist plots that the program prevented. Now this same program is credited with the capture of the world's most notorious terrorist. Meanwhile, Attorney Holder's Justice Department continues its criminal investigation of the very same CIA employees who may have helped obtain information that President Obama used to kill bin Laden.

"These documents show that without 'enhanced interrogation techniques' Osama bin Laden might still be hiding in his compound plotting to kill more innocents. The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden will prompt President Obama to rethink his ideological and political positions on enhanced interrogation techniques. President Obama can no longer attack the very intelligence techniques that led to his brightest day thus far as president," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Judicial Watch is, of course, grateful to the intelligence community and U.S. military, specifically the nameless Navy Seals, who brought Osama bin Laden to justice."