When Time magazine runs a story headlined “Ex-Counterterror Chief: ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Led U.S. to bin Laden,” you know that the left is not controlling the narrative.
It may be that the killing of Osama bin Laden really is going to show that sometimes it is necessary to be rude to terrorists. Time quotes Jose Rodriguez, who was investigated by the Holder Justice Department last year for destroying interrogation videos:
“Information provided by KSM and Abu Faraj al Libbi about Bin Laden’s courier was the lead information that eventually led to the location of [bin Laden’s] compound and the operation that led to his death,” Rodriguez tells TIME in his first public interview. Rodriguez was cleared of charges in the video destruction investigation last year.
Rodriguez’s assertion drew criticism from the White House. “There is no way that information obtained by [enhanced interrogation techniques] was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden,” says National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. “It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there.”
It did take years and some of the intelligence was undoubtedly fresh-but it all built on earlier interrogations. We should be grateful today that members of the Bush administration braved the censure of the media to ensure that this information would be obtained.
A New York Times story claims that the information gained by harsh techniques played “a small role at most” in identifying the courier who ultimately led to bin Laden. Even if true, this is flimsy; a small tip is big in the war on terror. At least the CIA’s Leon Panetta has said it is an “open question” as to whether interrogations using enhanced techniques worked. I’m going to take that as a yes.
By the way, I think President Obama is taking a risk going on “60 Minutes” to discuss the capture of bin Laden with correspondent Steve Kroft. We are grateful to the president for making the right decision. But with the appearance on CBS, he risks appearing overeager to claim credit (which, by the way, we already give him). Like the politicking at the late Paul Wellstone’s funeral that sent Norm Coleman (briefly) to the Senate, this could backfire.
The quiet determination of George W. Bush looks better every day.