CIA

Obama and Senate Intel Cmte tortured the truth about CIA’s enhanced interrogation program

President Barack Obama said on Friday, “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right. But we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.” Yet the Department of Justice has twice closed investigations of alleged torture by the CIA without filing charges against anyone. Obama’s remarks were not only politically self-serving and contrary to the findings of fact, they went viral in the Muslim world and provided Islamist radicals with ready-made propaganda with which they will recruit many to the jihad.

In February 2013, I did what the Senate Intelligence Committee did not do while it spent years and $50 million dollars “investigating” whether EITs provided credible intelligence; I interviewed a top official directly involved with the program, Jose Rodriguez who headed the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. He directed the enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees, and led worldwide intelligence collection programs and covert action operations. Here is the complete audio of my Freedom Radio interview of him:

If you listened, you heard Mr. Rodriguez tell of how the enhanced interrogation program was developed and that it was briefed to leaders in Congress in August and September of 2002, including those on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

A detainee — after he became compliant through the use of EITs — was the first to tell the CIA that Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was bin Laden’s courier; interrogating and observing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confirmed that it was credible information. Subsequently, the CIA got the courier’s real name through human intelligence and traditional trade craft, they spotted him in Pakistan, and he led them to Osama bin Laden:

“No doubt about it; the information that was obtained from al Qaeda terrorists in our custody at our black sites using enhanced interrogation techniques led to the demise of bin Laden.”

It is important to understand the scope of the intelligence gained. Mr. Rodriguez described it:

“The intervening ten years we were up against all kinds of threats, a second wave of attacks. We also knew they had a nuclear program, they had a biological weapons program, they had operatives that were coming after us, and the enhanced interrogation program gave us the intelligence that allowed us to capture all of them or kill them. We were actually able to decimate al Qaeda because of this program.

“This program was the key to doing that. And to say otherwise is to try to rewrite history, and it based on ideology and politics which really is of great concern to me. We need an honest assessment of the value of these techniques, and if we can’t be honest with ourselves, I think we are in big trouble.”

What we did right after 9/11 included not rewarding unlawful enemy combatants with the Geneva Conventions protection to not answer questions. Overwhelming, Americans believe those protections should only be provided to lawful enemy combatants who follow the Rules of War.

My family and I thank those who did what was necessary to defend our Nation. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page deception about the effectiveness of EITs and President Obama falsely claiming that detainees were tortured will not diminish our appreciation.

Did enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees work, lead to bin Laden, and were they ethical?

Today at the American Enterprise Institute, panelists Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First, former Attorney General Judge Michael Mukasey, former Acting General Counsel of the CIA John Rizzo, AEI fellow Marc Thiessen, and Brookings Institute fellow Benjamin Wittes discussed whether the enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees worked, lead to Osama bin Laden, and if they were ethical. One interesting point made by John Rizzo was while he served at the CIA until October 2009, the current administration asked the CIA to recommend a list of interrogation techniques above those in the Army Field Manual:

I hope to someday hear a robust debate on the ethics of not aggressively interrogating high-value detainees. One way you protect civilians during war is to deny Geneva Convention protections to unlawful combatants — a right to remain silent — to not allow them to only give their name, rank, date of birth, and serial number.

Debra Burlingame: ‘Those interrogators, CIA case officers are patriots’

Debra Burlingame was interviewed on WMAL radio this morning about her confronting Barack Obama during a meeting at Ground Zero. She explained her reasons for asking the President to express his opinion to Attorney General about dropping the investigation of CIA officers who conducted the enhanced interrogations of detainees:

Try as they might, the Obama administration can not deny the courier was first identified and determined to be a valuable person to find and follow in the hunt for Osama bin Laden during those enhanced interrogations.