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Ground Zero in LA Prevented By Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?

Earlier Kim wrote about Dick Cheney's request that additional memos be declassified so that the American people could see the rest of the story, regarding the intelligence obtained through enhanced techniques used by the CIA. It might not even be necessary to view additional memos to show that, if the media would report the full contents of the memos that have already been made public. I had not seen the following anywhere in the media until reading it in the The Washington Post today (thanks to a link from Lucianne.com):

In releasing highly classified documents on the CIA interrogation program last week, President Obama declared that the techniques used to question captured terrorists "did not make us safer." This is patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public -- in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media.

Consider the Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005. It notes that "the CIA believes 'the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.' . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques." The memo continues: "Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will find out.' " Once the techniques were applied, "interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates."

Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques "led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the 'Second Wave,' 'to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into' a building in Los Angeles." KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. The memo explains that "information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the 'Second Wave.' " In other words, without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one in New York.

Here is more from the same piece by Marc Thiessen:
Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, "as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, 'brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship." In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can -- and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that "Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable." The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.

This is the secret to the program's success. And the Obama administration's decision to share this secret with the terrorists threatens our national security. Al-Qaeda will use this information and other details in the memos to train its operatives to resist questioning and withhold information on planned attacks.


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Comments (14)

at the end of the movie "Sc... (Below threshold)

at the end of the movie "Schindler's List" there is a wonderful scene as the CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN of those saved by Schindler come to pay homage at his grave. Without Schinlder those people would NEVER HAVE EXISTED!

The future children and grandchildren of those who WOULD HAVE DIED in L.A.'s Library Tower will live because we made a terrorist scumbag fearful!!

I GUARANTEE every one of them would agree with the decision that made their life possible!

It'd be fun to try to parod... (Below threshold)

It'd be fun to try to parody this - but it just simply doesn't work, especially with that second excerpt.

When they've reached the limits of reistance, they can spill everything.

But with the release of the memos - that changes a lot of things. Now they know the limits of OUR efforts, and what is considered 'torture' - so THEIR limits will be increased beyond that.

Good going, Team Obama. Now our prisoners know what to expect, there'll be no surprises for them.

Unless they didn't tell EVERYTHING, which wouldn't terribly surprise me.

I'm not much "impeachment",... (Below threshold)

I'm not much "impeachment", and do NOT think Clinton should have been...nor did I find any of the impeachment talk of Conyers, et al, during Bush's terms to be useful in any way.

That said...if, God forbid, we DO get hit, and hit HARD, and it turns out we had someone who could have helped us prevent it had we used FORCEFUL INTERROGATION...then impeachment will be the only recourse!

How will we KNOW that they could helped us prevent it? alQueda will BRAG about it!

"at the end of the movie "S... (Below threshold)

"at the end of the movie "Schindler's List" there is a wonderful scene as the CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN of those saved by Schindler come to pay homage at his grave. Without Schinlder those people would NEVER HAVE EXISTED!"

I'm curious if you watched the rest of the movie, or if you caught the end of it while flipping channels. I don't recall that Schindler tortured the Nazis in his quest to save the people he saved. If I recall, it was through building relationships with people he loathed in order to get the outcome he was attempting to obtain.

This has to be the funniest, most ill informed comment I've read on this site. So thanks for the laugh!

Lorie,Washington P... (Below threshold)


Washington Post EDITORIALIST Marc Thiessen was on Donald Rumsfeld's wacky staff in the Defense Department. The same staff that presented schematics of imaginary terrorist cities bored out of the mountains of Afghanistan with elevators, generators, dispensaries, etc.

Jake, I would accuse you of... (Below threshold)

Jake, I would accuse you of intentionally missing the point...but missing the point is obviously your specialty!

So let me spell it out...and I'll try to use small words so you can follow along.

The living, and those who WILL live, as a result of making a scumbag UNCOMFORTABLE (sorry about the long word...try to look it up) have our CIA to thank for breaking these scumbags. Had these scumbags had their fingers torn off...or their children raped in front of them...or their eyeballs gouged out (all techniques alQueda uses) then I suppose some of the living (or their descendants) might reqret the decision.

But since we did NOT use ANY techniques that did ANY lasting harm to these terrorists, I don't believe those were saved will feel bad at all...for they are ALIVE!

last add on the Schindler analogy, he was a VERY imperfect man. Before, during and after he saved these people. AND, in the process of saving them he, gasp, LIED to those he was "building relationships with". And he even HURT THEIR FEELINGS!! Terrible.

the "most ill informed comment" on this site? YOU provided it, boyo.

It would be interesting to ... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

It would be interesting to gather some of those that were in that building on that day(do we know the day?)
Otherwise, maybe some liberal hollywood types have offices there.

@Justrand"But sinc... (Below threshold)


"But since we did NOT use ANY techniques that did ANY lasting harm to these terrorists, I don't believe those were saved will feel bad at all...for they are ALIVE!"

a. You have NO idea what we did or didn't do (beyond what has already been admitted). None of us do. That's the point. We're only just now starting the see the real details and put all the pieces together.

b. What I find interesting about the "let's do anything to anyone so long as it saves ourselves" is that the right has fought a hard, hard war against that exact same process when it comes to stem cell research. The folks on the right (which I assume includes you?) have maintained that the ends don't justify the means, that there was a certain moral line that death, disease, and disfigurement didn't affect. The issue with torture should, IMHO be the same thing.

c. Do you consider death "lasting harm"? Detainees have been tortured, literally, to death. Personally I'd consider that "lasting harm".

d. If these techinques are no big deal because they apparently wear off when the scars heal, would you suggest that we should start torturing domestic prisoners as well? Seriously, if it works so wonderfully, and the people we do it to are guilty scumbags, why shouldn't we apply it in cases of guilty scumbags right here at home? Certainly there's quite a few in our own country who want to do harm too. Kidnappers, child molesters, murders fill our prisons. We've tortured US citizens before, why not do it at home if it's crucial in protecting ourselves?

d. Have some honesty in this conversation, man. Either own your position and say "Hell yeah torture is painful, that's why we do it!" or just pipe down about it. Hearing people say that chaining a prisoner to the floor in the fetal position for 24 hours, or keeping someone awake for 11 days, or putting a collar on them and slamming them into a wall, or waterboarding them 183 times, or slapping them around the face is, to any rational human being, painful and harmful. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have been talking about how horrible the Saddam Hussein regime was for their use of the same tactics.

As far as Schindler's List analogy, I'm not even going to bother to continue that discussion because it's pointless. Somehow you equate an imperfect man saving people from death with apparently perfect men (the Bush Admin) causing pain and suffering the likes of which were closer to the Nazis that Schindler was trying to help people escape from. Moving along ...

@ JLawson said: "When they'... (Below threshold)

@ JLawson said: "When they've reached the limits of reistance, they can spill everything."

Sorry, I think you meant to say "anything".

Jake, have you READ the det... (Below threshold)

Jake, have you READ the details released about the techniques? I have. They do NOT constitute "torture".

Of course, to you "torture" is having sand in your bathing suit.

Torture is doing things which leave lasting DAMAGE. Bodily harm, having your family savaged in front of you, etc. alQueda techniques.

Where is your evidence that we did ANY of that?

And I find your cavalier dismissal of the RESULTS (thousands of American live saved) of these HARSH (though not "torturous") interrogation methods.

I do NOT condone real torture. And, frankly, for LAWFUL combatants I do not even condone "harsh interrogation".


You're wrong, Justrand. Tor... (Below threshold)

You're wrong, Justrand. Torture can be psychological, or staying in a stress position for a prolonged period of time.

The lawfulness of a combatant has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of how a human being is treated by your government. You should be embarrassed, indexing your own morals to a narrow interpretation of international law.

hyperbolist: "The lawful... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist: "The lawfulness of a combatant has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of how a human being is treated by your government.."

Imprisoning someone also can have long-term "psychological" effects...and killing them on the battlefield has REAL long term effects!

So, terrorists, if you want to avoid these "long-term" effects just DON'T WAGE WAR ON THE U.S.!

hyperbolist...are you seriously saying that you are EMBARRASSED that the terrorists didn't get to destroy the Library Tower in L.A. and kill thousands of Americans? I am DAMN PROUD!

Would some of you be happie... (Below threshold)

Would some of you be happier if LA was hit?
Thousands of innocent people killed for no reason other that making you feel good about yourself because you believe in being gentle with people who want to kill you????

I don't think these lowlifes were torture, rough treatment, yeah I'm sure they rec'd that, but come on how soft in the heart (and head) do you have to be to realize what these people what to do to the rest of the world (not just Americans) and what it might take to stop them.

Adds a whole new meaning to "bleeding heart liberals".

Here's the funniest part of... (Below threshold)

Here's the funniest part of this conversation about torture:

1. There is clearly an agreement (from comments here, in other threads, and based on Kim's latest post) that torture is, in fact, possible to conduct. (Honestly I was beginning to think that "death" was the only torture that readers of this site would agree was torture)

2a. There is a near total trust given over to the government to determine where the line between harsh tactics and torture tactics are.

2b. At least when Bush was in office.

3. The people reading this site have, apparently, zero faith in the Obama government.

4. Therefore you'd think that they would inherently be against US officially sanctioned torture because they can't trust the Obama government, thus they can't trust the Obama Admin's ability to draw the line between annoyance and torture.

So to summarize: Conservatives believe that the Obama government is fascist/socialist/marxist and not be trust, except in cases of whether to torture citizens and non-citizens alike, then they should be given carte blanche to torture at will because it works.







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