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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CIA: Banned Interrogation Techniques Yielded 'High Value Information'

(al-Qaida terrorists hijacked airplanes and struck the World Trade Center- Twin Towers burn before their eventual collapse, Sept. 11, 2001)

For all the pissing and moaning we hear about harsh interrogation tactics being called "torture," a new CIA memo confirms that the information obtained from interrogation tactics, methods based on training our own military receives, was "high value" and specifically the information gotten from al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed, enabled the government to "thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles"

The Central Intelligence Agency told today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the “Second Wave”-- planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

The memos also include information about Khalid Sheik Mohammed's mindset up until harsher interrogation tactics were used, by telling officials America didn't have what it took to stop the next attack.

“In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including KSM and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques,” says the Justice Department memo. “Both KSM and Zubaydah had ‘expressed their belief that the general US population was ‘weak,’ lacked resilience, and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.’ Indeed, before the CIA used enhanced techniques in its interrogation of KSM, KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will know.’”

This post isn't about what constitutes torture and what doesn't, hell, keeping my coffee away from me is torture to me, but it pushes home one specific point.

Obama believes that in the same position he would take what he considers the "high road" and not authorize the use of harsher interrogation tactics, but until, god forbid, America is attacked under his watch and he has a mastermind of said attack in his grasp, one who admits to having information the next attack that would kill hundreds or thousands of Americans, only then, will Barack Obama be in a position to second guess the decisions that were made at that time.

This begs the question: if Obama were in that specific spot, which hopefully he never is, would taking his "high road" be worth sacrificing thousands of innocent Americans?

On Tuesday, September 11, the two tallest buildings in New York — 110 stories each, a major tourist attraction, and crowded with men and women working for financial powerhouses, government agencies, restaurants, and shops — were destroyed.
8:48 am: AA Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower.)

Photos- Slate and NYMag.