In a speech praising the U.S. military and intelligence services, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., on Tuesday said the Pakistan raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden validated the harsher interrogation techniques used after 9/11, on prisoners kept at secret locations:
Said Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee:
…”It is also important to point out that this operation was made possible by information provided by enemy combatants that have been detained and interrogated by the United States. There has been a lot of debate in this country about our detention and interrogation policy, but this is probably one of the clearest examples of the extraordinary value of the information we have been able to gather from the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. If we did not have access to this information, Osama bin Laden would likely still be operating undetected today.
“It’s because of the information gained from these detainees, pursued and analyzed over the years by the intelligence community that led us to Osama bin Laden’s compound. It’s almost unimaginable that he was located, not in a cave — in Pakistani’s no man’s land — but in a city just miles outside of Islamabad with a large Pakistani military and government presence. “
Chambliss’ contention on Tuesday competed with the thoughts of Diane Feinstein of California, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. From TPM:
“To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a wide-ranging press conference.
Moreover, Feinstein added, nothing about the sequence of events that culminated in Sunday’s raid vindicates the Bush-era techniques, nor their use of black sites — secret prisons, operated by the CIA.
“Absolutely not, I do not,” Feinstein said. “I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted, and in my view nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used.”
Nor was Chamliss’ opinion universal among Republicans. Also from TPM:
At a Capitol press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stood apart from his colleagues in the GOP. “This idea we caught bin Laden because of waterboarding I think is a misstatement,” he said.
“This whole concept of how we caught bin Laden is a lot of work over time by different people and putting the puzzle together. I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider