DC Trawler

If you’re determined to believe waterboarding had nothing to do with tracking down Bin Laden, don’t listen to Leon Panetta

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Here’s Brian Williams interviewing Leon Panetta. Starting at the 3:45 mark, they talk about how the U.S. obtained the information we used to track down Osama Bin Laden so a Navy SEAL could blow a great big hole in his skull:

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Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

Panetta: That’s correct.

Any questions?

P.S. The Daily Mail is reporting that it took Obama 16 hours to decide to kill Bin Laden. I don’t know whether that’s true, but if it is, I’m reluctant to judge him too harshly. After all, he was very busy writing Trump jokes.

P.P.S. Iowahawk on Twitter: “Maybe those waterboarded detainees talked, but only after the Gitmo guards gave them extra ice cream. #NewLeftyMeme”

P.P.P.S. Donald Rumsfeld to Sean Hannity: “Anyone who suggests that waterboarding did not produce an enormous amount of valuable intelligence just isn’t facing the truth.”


“I’m told there was some confusion today on some programs, even one on Fox, I think, suggesting that I indicated that no one who was waterboarded at Guantanamo provided any information on this. That’s just not true. What I said was, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the U.S. military. In fact, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, period. Three people were waterboarded by the CIA away from Guantanamo and then later brought to Guantanamo. And in fact, as you pointed out, the information that came from those individuals was critically important.” — Donald Rumsfeld