Did Torture Help Us Catch Bin Laden?

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

It's already conservative history (i.e., myth) that the policies and programs of President Bush weere responsible for the killing of bin Laden – particularly Bush's policy of conducting torture on captured Gitmo prisoners.  Perhaps the strongest case made by conservatives — that Bin Laden’s death vindicates torture — was spelled out last week by former Bush 
AG Mukasey in an Op ed in the Wall Street Journal. Mukasey argued that the trail to Bin Laden “began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.”

Except… that's not true.  And that comes from CIA director Panetta:

Let me further point out that we first learned about the facilitator/courier’s nom de guerre from a detainee not in CIA custody in 2002. It is also important to note that some detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques attempted to provide false or misleading information about the facilitator/courier. These attempts to falsify the facilitator/courier’s role were alerting.

In the end, no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.

Emphasis mine. Panetta’s account contradicts Mukasey’s claim that the trail to Bin Laden “began” with disclosures from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed that were achieved through the “pressure" of torture.

It didn't.