Did Torture Help or Hinder Efforts to Find Bin Laden?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

There has been recent debate over whether isolation cells in "Supermax" prisons should be classified as torture. (Flickr user ewarwoowar (cc: by-nc-sa))

There is growing debate among Democrats and Republicans over which president's tactic helped find and kill Osama bin Laden. Was it the harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush administration, that included waterboarding and sleep deprivation of detained al-Qaida members? Or was it old fashioned surveillance and intelligence gathering methods that got bin Laden? Scott Shane, national security reporter for The New York Times says that until all the documents are declassified, it may be difficult to know.


Scott Shane

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [4]

James from San Francisco

Enhanced interrogation techniques failed and impeded the gathering of information according to Ali Soufan, May 13, 2009, in front of Senate Judiciary:
Traditional investigation, handled brilliantly By our President, found OSBL, Not torture. this is a sad, desperate attempt to save the legacy of GWB.

May. 04 2011 08:11 PM
JAM22 from Chicago


If waterboarding was so useful why didn't it lead Bush and his team straight to OBL? Information obtained more than 2 or 3 years ago would have become quite stale and irrelevant by now. Stay with the facts - Bush gave up looking for OBL. He even said finding him was not a concern of his. Obama made finding and killing OBL the #1 priority. And he got it done. A simple "thank you President Obama" would suffice.

May. 04 2011 08:07 PM
kmarnyc from New York CIty

You keep allowing Michael Scheur (sp?) to blame everything on what Pres. Clinton didn't let him do to get OBL, but why aren't you reminding him that 9/11 happened during GBW's watch, and it was GBW who had the 8 years (advantaged by OUR torture techniques) who had full-rein to do whatever he could get away with who "failed." It's not that I think success was in the cards anyway; i.e., I don't blame Bush for not getting OBL. But I do resent people blaming only Clinton -- who DID successfully prosecute what OBL did in Africa. Please remind MS of this!!!

May. 04 2011 09:03 AM

Hinder? Isn't it a little unserious after the fact to suggest that "old fashioned surveillance" or a team of defense lawyers serving KSM would have uncovered any useful information.
It was not just enhanced interrogation techniques but foreign detention sites, Gitmo, extraordinary rendition,electronic surveillance, special military operators and other practices that were condemned by Obama, his supporters and the media for political reasons and all crucial in locating OBL and foiling plots. Cheering the news about OBL this week while sneering at and demonizing for years those who actually did the unpopular work while risking prosecution is a bit hypocritical. Giving the order to get OBL is easy. Willing to withstand the firestorm of vitriol for years to make it happen is very difficult.

May. 04 2011 08:36 AM

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