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.