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.
The operation hinged almost entirely on the hunt for a single man: a courier working out of Pakistan who had been trusted by bin Laden for years. U.S. analysts and operatives spent years figuring out the courier’s identity, senior administration officials said, concluding that he was a former protege of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The courier “in particular had our constant attention,” one official said. Detainees “identified this man as one of the few al-Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden, indicated he might be living with or protecting bin Laden,” the official said. But until four years ago, the United States was unable to track him down or uncover his real name. Two years ago, U.S. officials narrowed down the region in Pakistan where the courier was working, senior administration officials said.
During a Fox News interview late last night, Debra Burlingame said, “We need to ask our national security leaders and the President, frankly, why we don’t have an interrogation program; right now we have no interrogation program on its feet.”