When I first read about the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden there was one detail that I immediately noticed.  According to reports the key to finally getting to Bin Laden had been discovering the identity of his primary courier, the man that kept him abreast of what was happening with other Al-Qaeda operatives, and for that matter the world in general.

The way said vital information had been achieved was through various intense interrogation techniques torture.   And that bothered me because I was worried that if these techniques that I described in part two of this series resulted in the United States finding Osama Bin Laden, then it could very possibly give most Americans the idea that the end justifies the means.

And not surprisingly not only were a cadre of Americans quick to claim exactly that, they were quick to claim that without the approved intensive interrogation techniques torture of the previous administration, the current administration would have never achieved his location.

Or maybe you are more of a Karl Rove fan:

Karl Rove said on Fox & Friends this morning: “I think the tools that President Bush put into place—GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well.”

Nice to know their opinions but here is a couple of facts:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.   (AP).

According to a senior administration official said about when they got the intelligence on the courier. “Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years, we were unable to identify his true name or his location. (my emphasis)

Four years ago, we uncovered his identity, and for operational reasons, I can’t go into details about his name or how we identified him, but about two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated.” (EmptyWheel)

So when all that intensive interrogation techniques torture was going on during the George W. Bush administration, the most that the United States ever learned about the identity of this crucial key, Osama Bin Laden’s personal courier was his nickname.

Nickname:  1. a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person, place, etc., as in affection, ridicule, or familiarity: He has always loathed his nickname of “Whizzer.”

                        2.  to call by an incorrect or improper name; misname.

And that’s about as far as the George W. Bush approved intensive interrogation techniques torture were able to come up with as far as locating Osama Bin Laden.  But the thing is that using these tactics including Room 101 did manage to achieve some results.

For instance:

The “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” used on Abu Faraq al-Libi resulting in him claiming that Saddam Hussein had offered to train two al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Which was the smoking gun that President Bush used as the evidence that “Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.”  President George W. Bush October 2002

Which was the primary piece of evidence that the United States used as justification to invade the country of Iraq.   Information that United States did gain through the use of intensive interrogation techniques torture which may have included a healthy dose of Room 101.

Information later was discovered to be false.  Because sometimes if they carry you into Room 101 enough times, sometimes you’ll them what they want to hear whether it is true or not.

U.S. Troops killed 4,414

Iraqi civilians killed 864,531

And the United States has spent at least $788,264,052,000 on the war in Iraq, but that number is still growing.


Not surprisingly already those in America that would like to believe that enhanced interrogation techniques are a effective means of gaining constructive information, and also more importantly that all that focused use of such tactics actually accomplished something significantly constructive.

Today in an interview with CBS, the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center who oversaw the use of those particular techniques, Jose Rodriguez made effort to reassert the assertion that all the countless times that they were used were justified because they were crucial to the U.S. solving the Bin Laden problem recently.

First of all, one thing you might want to know about Jose is that he does love to put a very particular spin on the use of such techniques.   So much so that the Federal government had to conduct a full investigation on him when it was revealed that he had destroyed a substantial amount of video evidence of these techniques being carried out by Americans.

Because nothing equates torture in the mindset of the common American quite like a detail video or film of such things, and at the time I’m thinking that Jose was in a cover-his-ass mode.

But now he isn’t trying to cover his own ass, now he’s charged with covering a lot of other people’s asses.

Here's a quick visual clue about who these "other" people are...

And you may ask what is that crucial definable key that Jose Rodriquez is making sure to point out?

Al-Libi was not waterboarded, but a week after being subjected to other “enhanced interrogation” techniques, he gave the CIA the tip that the courier only ran messages to bin Laden about every two months or so.” Rodriguez said.

And Jose says that was the moment he had the flash of genius, the solid epiphany that would lead to Bin Laden’s end. Which was that “You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months.”

Yep that’s his smoking gun. What a gracious man Jose Rodriguez is, for in his support of enhanced interrogation techniques he’s also claiming that it wasn’t just the enhanced interrogation techniques that led to the end of Bin Laden, but the very particular combination of those techniques and his own person involvement in the case.

And in case you were wondering about the validity of Jose humble unsupported claim?

“There is no way that information obtained by [enhanced interrogation techniques] was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Time. “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.”


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