Patterico's Pontifications

5/3/2011

Who Should Get the $25 Million Reward for Information Leading to bin Laden’s Capture? How About President George W. Bush?

Filed under: General,Obama,Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:12 am

Slate asks who should get that $25 million reward for the capture of Osama. Maybe it should be the man behind the intelligence techniques that led us to him: George W. Bush.

Aaron has already linked a story indicating that some of those famous harsh interrogation techniques may have led to KSM and others disclosing the name of the courier whose identity was the key to locating bin Laden.

Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

The New York Times provides further details:

Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated.

Still, it was not until August that they tracked him to the compound in Abbottabad, a medium-sized city about an hour’s drive north of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

KSM lied about the courier’s role, and did not disclose his name during a waterboarding session. But, he did disclose it months after he had been waterboarded, during a “standard” interrogation session. Whether that standard session was more effective due to the previous waterboarding, we’ll probably never know.

And how did we track him to Abbottabad? Why, through that dastardly FISA:

When one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted aides picked up the phone last year, he unknowingly led U.S. pursuers to the doorstep of his boss, the world’s most wanted terrorist.

That monitored phone call, recounted Monday by a U.S. official, ended a years-long search for bin Laden’s personal courier, the key break in a worldwide manhunt. The courier, in turn, led U.S. intelligence to a walled compound in northeast Pakistan, where a team of Navy SEALs shot bin Laden to death.

. . . .

But in the middle of last year, Ahmed had a telephone conversation with someone being monitored by U.S. intelligence, according to an American official, who like others interviewed for this story spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. Ahmed was located somewhere away from bin Laden’s hideout when he had the discussion, but it was enough to help intelligence officials locate and watch Ahmed.

Just as a reminder, candidate and Senator Obama voted for FISA — but only after taking various contradictory positions on it, such as opposing the critical provisions for telecom immunity, without which it could not have worked.

I’m happy to see that President Obama has cast aside much of the rhetoric he used as a candidate when it comes to battling terrorists. But I’d rather give that $25 million to someone who is more of a straight talker: George W. Bush.

58 Responses to “Who Should Get the $25 Million Reward for Information Leading to bin Laden’s Capture? How About President George W. Bush?”

  1. In all seriousness, there are many more deserving people — such as the SEALs who participated in the raid.

    I wrote the post this way specifically to drive liberals crazy. Let’s see if it works!

    Patterico (c218bd)

  2. oh it will, it will.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  3. Whether that standard session was more effective due to the previous waterboarding, we’ll probably never know.

    Probably not.

    But seeing as how the “standard session” was “months after” the waterboarding, I’d say the impact of waterboarding, if any, was negligible.

    And how did we track him to Abbottabad? Why, through that dastardly FISA

    Well, no. FISA doesn’t apply to interception of calls taking place entirely outside the United States.

    I realize the point of the post was to have fun with liberals, and I take it in that nature. But in all seriousness, I agree with you that the Seals are deserving.

    Kman (5576bf)

  4. The SEALS and the intelligence officials who worked on this diligently for years. Going up false leads and down dead ends has to be frustrating.

    rbj (487e2c)

  5. Reading comprehension is not your strong suit:

    But in the middle of last year, Ahmed had a telephone conversation with someone being monitored by U.S. intelligence, according to an American official, who like others interviewed for this story spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. Ahmed was located somewhere away from bin Laden’s hideout when he had the discussion, but it was enough to help intelligence officials locate and watch Ahmed.

    narciso (79ddc3)

  6. America can’t afford to give out 25 million dollars cause it has a crappy declining economy sickened with dirty socialisms and a scary huge deficit and S&P already said that America is to fiscally responsible budgeting what Ike Turner is to domestic tranquility.

    happyfeet (760ba3)

  7. Give big bonuses to the intelligence people and make sure SEAL team 6 is set for life.

    MayBee (081489)

  8. Actually anything gotten from KSM in anyway is directly attributable to waterboarding as it was the waterboarding of a previous captive that led to his capture.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  9. Narciso:

    But in the middle of last year, Ahmed had a telephone conversation with someone being monitored by U.S. intelligence

    It doesn’t involve FISA unless at least one end of the conversation was in the U.S. What makes you think that’s the case?

    Kman (5576bf)

  10. _____________________________________________

    The following guy should get the award, if only to symbolize to a majority of voters back in November 2008 just how much wisdom and common sense they displayed when they cast their ballot for the person now in the Oval Office…

    abcnews.go.com, March 2008:

    The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side, has a long history of what even Obama’s campaign aides concede is “inflammatory rhetoric,” including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.”

    In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.”

    Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

    An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

    “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

    In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda’s attacks because of its own terrorism.

    “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  11. Clearly the NSA’s TSP was involved, but not the NSA.

    narciso (79ddc3)

  12. “I wrote the post this way specifically to drive liberals crazy.”

    Coals to Newcastle, me friend, coals to Newcastle.

    d. in c. (0b8a2b)

  13. “Who Should Get the $25 Million Reward for Information Leading to bin Laden’s Capture?”

    ACORN of course.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  14. Who should get the 25 million reward for information leading to bin laden’s capture?

    Uh Mossad?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  15. The administration should announce that Ayman al-Zawahiri provided the information that led to the raid, and can collect the $25 million in person at any U.S. Embassy.

    It’s a two-fer. 1. It might end up having al Qaeda turn on their new #1. 2. If he is dumb enough to show up, an embassy is American soil and he can be arrested (and “shot trying to escape,” if need be).

    Mark L (90eb9c)

  16. Well, no. FISA doesn’t apply to interception of calls taking place entirely outside the United States.

    Kman, you do like to make assertions, and then demand people prove you wrong.

    I know you can’t prove this assertion, but you will pretend we have to prove it wrong, for example.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  17. (that there never was a call with one end in the USA).

    Dustin (c16eca)

  18. Newsweek:

    The identity of at least one of the detainees who provided early information about the courier who led to bin Laden could be politically explosive. According to a U.S. official, that detainee was notorious Saudi al-Qaida operative and accused 9/11 conspirator Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was subjected to some of the most humiliating interrogations at Guantanamo. Among the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him were being forced to wear a woman’s bra, being led around on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks and being subjected to cold temperatures that twice required his hospitalization, according to a later U.S. military report

    narciso (79ddc3)

  19. Obama deserves the reward for his heroic actions.

    JD (d27367)

  20. I imagine these interrogation methods led to many other breakthroughs.

    There’s a reason Al Qaida’s promised wave of terrorism in the USA completely stopped when we took these tactics on. They kept using them for years not because we were really pissed off, but because we were finding them extremely effective.

    I recall when Obama vaguely threatened that his DOJ would prosecute the decision makers who ultimately led us to OBL. Cheney’s response was that the American people should know some of the things we learned. Obama has never said, since taking office, that waterboarding doesn’t product useful intel. In fact, he’s said that defending this country is harder without that method.

    And that’s a legitimate choice (to make American less safe because you are unwilling to water board a terrorist). That is Obama’s choice.

    It’s a legitimate point of view that we should debate openly. Should we make deals with telecoms to monitor calls? I know Kman wants to dissemble this into an impossible burden of proof, but honestly, should we have those deals Obama criticized? Should we have secret prisons that we use for enhanced interrogations? Should we keep detainees at Gitmo if they are useful to our war effort?

    These are very important questions. It may not even be possible to get Obama to nail down his point of view on them in a debate. He likes to blather on in the vaguest sense, or if he makes a promise, quickly break it. That alone is enough for America to seek new leadership on the war on terror.

    We should have a real debate over where the line is drawn, be it the Army Field Manual on interrogations, or somewhere farther along, that line needs to be established more clearly.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  21. Maybe Obama, Reid, and Pelosi should share it, for their unwavering support of the US military and the War on Terrorism.

    JD (d27367)

  22. These UCLA guys should get some of the reward money for being surprisingly accurate.

    Kman (5576bf)

  23. Give it to me! I did everything! Christ, that idiot George couldn’t even tie his shoes without my help! IT WAS ALL ME!!!

    Dick Cheney (c03c68)

  24. Isn’t it obvious who should get the reward?

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi.

    They should split it between them.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  25. #23 Kman: The UCLA guys had an interesting hypothesis, and some of their predictions for the building were accurate (tall building, with more than three rooms, and walls at least 3 meters high), as was the prediction that OBL would be in a city rather than a rural area.

    But they predicted OBL would be in one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, and he wasn’t. Nor did they mention the province or city where he actually was found as an alternative choice.

    It may well be that the geographers’ methods are something that the CIA ought to take into account (or perhaps they already are), but I wouldn’t say that the UCLA team actually indicated OBL’s location.

    Joshua (9ede0e)

  26. but I wouldn’t say that the UCLA team actually indicated OBL’s location

    No, I wouldn’t either. I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    Kman (5576bf)

  27. Heh. It’s been ten years.

    People have predicted Osama Bin Laden’s location so many times that it would be impossible for him to go somewhere that wasn’t predicted. The UCLA guess is reasonable, but it’s no more reliable than a clever horoscope.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  28. Speaking of SEALS, anyone following the Obama admin’s prosecution of those 3 SEALS for allegedly punching a high value terrorist in the mouth in Iraq?

    Gerald A (138c50)

  29. It woud be nice to see that money go to support the families of all those who have died (American and allied) fighting against Al Qaida over the last several years.

    Dave Surls (e2136b)

  30. Speaking of SEALS, anyone following the Obama admin’s prosecution of those 3 SEALS for allegedly punching a high value terrorist in the mouth in Iraq?

    Comment by Gerald A

    I forgot all about that. Shame on me. It’s true. Obama hasn’t had their backs, even in the most difficult situation. But the SEALs didn’t let us down, anyway. After many years of democrats condemning this unit as Cheney’s assassination squad, Kos saying ‘screw them’ when a former SEAL was hanging mutilated from a bridge, these guys are actually as good as they’ve ever been.

    The idea some of these men, who we retain partly to inflict violence, might use their fists in a heated moment. Compared to a righteous order to shoot to kill an unarmed man hobbling on a cane, that seems like a small thing.

    But don’t expect Obama to see the inconsistency.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  31. BTW, if someone on this team did die, I believe their SOP is to say no one died, and later announce the casualty as a training accident.

    This was a very hard mission, and we did lose a helicopter. Most of the reported details surrounding what happened have changed quite a bit in the last day. If any SEALs were killed in this mission, I think their family should get the reward money (assuming we didn’t already promise it to an informant). I can understand keeping their sacrifice secret (it does bolster the USA’s reputation that we took Osama down smoothly and perfectly).

    I keep trying to figure out a theory for why Obama wouldn’t release the video, and that’s one possibility. Another is that they killed Osama when he was surrendering.

    I’m not criticizing Obama if he made that call. It’s one of those hard calls that I was glad Bush made.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  32. Dustin, there is no excuse for not releasing the photos of a dead, and shot, ObL. None.

    Remember, there was no problem showing the photos of the two dead sons of Saddam, or a dead terror leader, or even the photos of Abu Gharib. Remember how the left leaning press clammored for those pictures?

    Now, the excuse is that the administration doesn’t want to outrage a bunch of people who stay outraged.

    retire05 (2d538e)

  33. Dustin, there is no excuse for not releasing the photos of a dead, and shot, ObL. None.

    We agree completely.

    I was talking about the video that we know exists, which might have details that aren’t in our interest to divulge. I’m trying to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this. Even if I do so, I can’t think of a justification to keep the OBL picture hidden. I do believe we got him, and maybe the picture is just extremely grisly. Still, we need to release it.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  34. A lot of assumptions in here Aaron — especially the one about FISA. The linked article says only that the call was monitored — it doesn’t say it was monitored pursuant to a FISA wiretap.

    No warrants are required when monitoring phones in foreign countries. The article says the guy was a Pakistani national born in Kuwait. The relative whose phone was being monitored might have been in Pakistan or Kuwait, and not in the US.

    shipwreckedcrew (436eab)

  35. SWC, it’s Patterico’s post.

    Hopefully we will learn more about whether this was FISA, among other aspects of how we got the intel.

    That should be a major facet of any intel gathering debate in the future.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  36. Still trying to rehabilitate Bush?

    News flash.

    Bush is on the record with ” I don’t really think much about bin Laden”.

    Let me guess. It was trick to fool bin Laden into letting his guard down 9 years later so Obama could have him killed. Is that the story?

    You guys are hilarious! Funny funny funny.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  37. No warrants are required when monitoring phones in foreign countries.

    But before Bush’s changes to the FISA, warrants were required for such calls if the signal passed through a server in the USA. Much of the “illegal” monitoring he got slammed for was of such calls.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  38. No I wouldn’t either I was being tongue-in-obamabuttcheek.

    FIFY Kman

    So let me guess this straight the SEALs are being arrested for4 assaulting a terrorist But yet Obama is a hero for killing the terrorist’s boss

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  39. Burn in hell Osama and his enablers.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  40. How about splitting it among all the families of the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Dick Cheney (c03c68)

  41. About FISA: the interceptions of calls were wide spread. We listened in on calls from anyone who could possibly know this courier, Al-Kuwaiti, and we started doing that as soon as Hassan Ghul told us his name.

    Any one specific call has to been seen as part of a wholesale effort to listen to thousands of calls, and of course, that certainly means we relied on telecom level assistance, FISA, etc.

    And let me add: I’m not sure FISA is relevant because I think we could have gotten a warrant. This was a long term effort.

    I do think it’s interesting to learn how we got information from Hassan Ghul. It makes those who screamed that Iraq was a distraction from finding Osama Bin Laden look a little… presumptuous. I always found that assertion that Osama and Saddam’s networks had absolutely no relationship to be ridiculous, and often based on paranoia about Muslims refusing to work together if they weren’t exactly of the same religious outlook (or, in the case of Saddam, particularly religious at all).

    It seems to be the case that a critical step, perhaps THE critical step, in finding this courier, happened because we went to war with Iraq in the context of rooting out anyone who harbors terrorists or poses a WMD threat to us.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  42. Has Cynthia McKinney claimed the $25 million yet?

    ropelight (253033)

  43. But, he did disclose it months after he had been waterboarded, during a “standard” interrogation session. Whether that standard session was more effective due to the previous waterboarding, we’ll probably never know.

    Thank god you admitted you were trolling your own blog, because man – if you’d written that in earnest…

    Auguste (5789a2)

  44. Other than your pointy head, what was your point, Auguste?

    JD (b98cae)

  45. #40. ” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8489866/WikiLeaks-Bin-Ladens-courier-trained-911-hijack-team.html

    Comment by narciso ”

    Gee, you think those wiki leaks will quell the Bush 911 insider LIHOP MIHOP freaks ?
    Kind of funny their own traitorous leaking destroys a vast swatch of their conspiracy theories.

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  46. George W. Bush would be the first to insist that he’s not entitled, and that he’s already been amply rewarded, forever, simply by the privilege of serving for eight years as America’s commander-in-chief.

    Beldar (acb014)

  47. To answer the question, I strongly doubt the sailors who conducted the raid are legally eligible, along with the members of the Intelligence community who pointed them.

    It is an oft repeated element of military ethics that you can not be financially rewarded for doing your duty, period. I rather suspect that holds true for the non-military governmental types.

    Spike (4573c4)

  48. #47 Notice how the press has been absolutely mystified for many months now with the “dominoes” falling in the middle east…

    I recall the insanely harsh attacks on President Bush who maintained something along the lines of showing the people of the middle east freedom in Iraq would create a catalyst effect… the press then fired up their lying punchbag shrieking meter, and went on endless rampages about failed VietNam dominoes theories and how Bush was flat out crazy and full of it.

    Now, for I don’t know how many months, the ENTIRE MSM has been publicly scratching it’s head and saying “WE don’t know what’s going on in the middle east, we’re not certain what all this is about”…

    No apologies, no connecting the completely obvious dots… just feigned stupidity and wonderrment…

    Thanks msm, playing the stupid liberal retard is second nature for you.

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  49. It is an oft repeated element of military ethics that you can not be financially rewarded for doing your duty, period

    Really? When did that come about? It certainly wasn’t the case 200 years ago, so when was it introduced, and how did it become so entrenched?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  50. Has Cynthia Mckinney claimed her hair was responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  51. Milhouse, last I saw “prize money” for the Navy had been eliminated about a century and a half ago.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Yes, it was, but when did the opposite become an entrenched and fundamental principle?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  53. shipwreckedcrew,

    I think one point of this post is that it’s hypocritical of Senator Obama to waver in his support for FISA surveillance and then, as President, gladly benefit from FISA’s provisions in the hunt for Bin Laden. Also, I don’t think it matters whether the calls were America-to-foreign or foreign-to-foreign because, as I understand FISA, it prohibited warrantless surveillance of both until it was amended in 2007. Only after the 2007 and 2008 FISA amendments known as the Protect America Act were the warrant and notice requirements for foreign-to-foreign calls eliminated.

    True to form, Obama waffled on those votes. Obama voted against the Protect America Act in 2007 but changed course and supported the FISA amendments as the Democratic Presidential candidate.

    Furthermore, after his election, AG Eric Holder vigorously defended the Protect America Act (as amended and continued) from a court challenge, saying:

    “The duty of the Justice Department is to defend statutes that have been passed by Congress,” Holder told Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah), who asked whether the Obama administration would continue the legal fight to uphold the legislation that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to overturn.

    “Unless there are compelling reasons, I don’t think we would reverse course,” Holder added.

    In an unrelated matter, what was the compelling reason was to reverse course on another statute passed by Congress — DOMA?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  54. DRJ, “compelling”? I doubt that Holder knows the definition of that word. “Paid off” – that one he knows.

    SPQR (26be8b)


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