May 12, 2011
Return of the Maverick?

Is John McCain coming to his senses at last? Is the old maverick risen from the grave? From Greg Sargent’s Plum Line, here’s an excerpt from a speech the senator gave today:

“With so much misinformation being fed into such an essential public debate as this one, I asked the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta, for the facts. And I received the following information:

“The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. We did not first learn from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the real name of bin Laden’s courier, or his alias, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the man who ultimately enabled us to find bin Laden. The first mention of the name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, as well as a description of him as an important member of Al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country. The United States did not conduct this detainee’s interrogation, nor did we render him to that country for the purpose of interrogation. We did not learn Abu Ahmed’s real name or alias as a result of waterboarding or any ‘enhanced interrogation technique’ used on a detainee in U.S. custody. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts, or an accurate description of his role in Al-Qaeda.

“In fact, not only did the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married, and ceased his role as an Al-Qaeda facilitator — which was not true, as we now know. All we learned about Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti through the use of waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the confirmation of the already known fact that the courier existed and used an alias.

“I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in Al-Qaeda and his true relationship to Osama bin Laden — was obtained through standard, non-coercive means, not through any ‘enhanced interrogation technique.’

“In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement. It’s important that he do so because we are again engaged in this important debate, with much at stake for America’s security and reputation. Each side should make its own case, but do so without making up its own facts.”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 12, 2011 02:36 PM
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Wow! Does this mean he is going to run for something (like President, maybe) on a democratic ticket?

Posted by: Mary Faye on May 14, 2011 10:48 AM

I doubt it; certainly not as a Democrat. I think it means the opposite: that he has totally abandoned all hope of running for president again. With that out of the way, he no longer has to worry about offending his own party. And this is a subject he's bound to feel strongly about. He himself was tortured into making false statements for the North Vietnamese to use as propaganda. He knows first-hand that the information gained by torture is probably worthless and certainly suspect — anything to make the pain stop. Figure out what they want to hear, and give it to them. In his heart, he must have nothing but contempt for tough-talking chickenhawks like Cheney and Bush.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on May 14, 2011 7:01 PM

An interesting read. But even if torture were proven to work, does that mean we should use it? One can simply not justify evil on the grounds of expediency.

Posted by: JohnAnthonyCurran on May 15, 2011 9:59 PM
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