The CIA Won’t Let Senate Report Settle ‘Debate’ on Whether Torture Led to Bin Laden
By: Kevin Gosztola Firedog Lake
Monday March 31, 2014 11:41 am
For former government officials who have defended torture techniques, this report poses a key threat to their ability to continue to appear on cable news programs, pen editorials for newspapers and participate in speaking engagements where they can claim torture played an effective role in leading the US to bin Laden and helped keep the country safe.
This key talking point makes it possible to convince audiences and hosts of news programs to ignore the unmistakable fact that the interrogation techniques authorized were torture and should not be used on any human being. If it is lost, they will only have their disingenuous fear and crude ideology to aid them when confronted over their role in the CIA’s rendition, detention and torture program.
Former vice president Dick Cheney said on “The Charlie Rose Show” on February 13, 2013, “KSM was more than anybody else [subjected] to enhanced interrogation techniques and more than anybody else provided us with key pieces of intelligence that we needed in order to defend the nation against al Qaeda.”
On January 29, 2013, Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA Counterterrorism Center head who authorized the destruction of videotapes of interrogations, “It’s a ridiculous assertion when a report says that enhanced interrogation program had no value or produced nothing. Frankly it’s disturbing. Because in my view it is an attempt to rewrite history. The narrative of this administration is that the enhanced interrogation program was torture and nothing came out of it, but in fact we were able to destroy al Qaeda because of it.”
Rodriguez used appearances on television, where he was promoting his book, Hard Measures, to defend President George W. Bush’s administration and the use of torture techniques on terrorism suspects. He also, like other former officials, benefited from the release of the film, Zero Dark Thirty, depicting the hunt for bin Laden because it garnered him invitations to speak about how he believed intelligence from torture had led to bin Laden’s execution.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden has maintained that, “as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.” On February 23, 2013, on Fareed Zakaria’s program on CNN, he said, “Part of that fabric in the hunt for bin Laden came from detainees against whom enhanced interrogation techniques have been used.”
John Rizzo, a former top CIA lawyer who oversaw whether torture techniques used on captives were “legal,” also during this same month, “This program was carried out, was originally carried out, evolved over the years, was refined, produced thousands of intelligence reports and was conducted, mind you, all those years, by career CIA officers, non-political public servants.”
“To say – to make a blanket statement that nothing of any value ever came out of these techniques, I just think beggars the imagination. I just don’t buy that.”