CIA Director: Torture Did Not Lead To Osama Bin Laden

George Washington's picture

John McCain writes:

asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the
following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention
of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who
ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an
important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another
country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees
who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or
an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.


In fact, the
use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed
produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his
interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and
ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true.
According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best
intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu
Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to
bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.

And see this:

While Senator McCain is a Republican and Leon Panetta a Democrat, this
is not a partisan issue. George Washington - the father of our country
before there were any parties - was against torture. Torture is simply un-American.

the multitude of high-level interrogators working for the military and
intelligence agencies who have said that torture produces bad
intelligence come from across the ranks of the Republican, Democratic
and independent parties.

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TheBillMan's picture

Slow down there pardner.  I think we may be missing the bigger picture.  The whole torture debate is nothing more than a symtom of our slide into depravity.  The public debate of torture would have been unthinkable 50 years ago when we faced a much more potent and formidable enemy.  One that was more than capable of overrunning free Europe and turning every American city into a thermonuclear wasteland.  Torture is something the Nazis or Communists did.  Not America. 

Then we had 9/11 and the gloves came off.  We lost a couple of buildings and the public was mortified.  Suddenly, we imagined terrorists hiding behind every tree and under every rock.  We can debate whether 9/11 was an inside job, but the end result was the same: we allowed a group of fascist neo-cons to use what must have seemed a very fortuitous event as an excuse to lead our nation into a preplanned war and down the road to an authoritarian police state.  We believed the story that it was all for our protection until the list of what qualified as a terrorist was expanded to include those who believe in the right to own a gun, to hold up a protest sign, to be a journalist and investigate the Gulf oil spill, to be a Ron Paul supporter, to be a believer in sound money, or anyone else who doesn't support the "system."

There was a reason for this, of course.  Our entire society has been changed from the one 50 years ago that was generally more religious, more family focused, more morally grounded, and at least on the surface believed in ethical business practices.  But slowly things changed.  First went the notion that labor had any right to an equitable share of the wealth that they produced. They busted the unions and off-shored first the manufacturing jobs and then the technical engineering and scientific expertise that made America the economic wonder of the world.  At the same time, they went on a 30 year spree of fraud, greed, plunder, and gambling that have resulted in no less that 4 heart stopping financial crises that came close to bringing the world economic system to its knees (i.e. 1988 stock market crash, the Asia and LTCM crisis of the late 1990's, the tech bubble and finally the real estate bubble).  Throughout this period, they taught us that hard work and inventiveness is for losers.  Gambling, criminality, and fraud are the way to real riches and success.  Between feasting on a steady diet of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, shopping at the mall, and upgrading to the big McMansion we lost our way and fell victim to the illusion that the road to wealth and prosperity was paved with borrowed money that could never be paid back.  But as I said, it was just an illusion and a very cleverly crafted one at that.  It takes years to loot a nation as wealthy as America once was, and the illusion of prosperity was used to distract us from the crimes being committed under our very noses.  All the while, the cancer of fraud and corruption spread until its malignancy now infests every corner of government: law enforcement, regulatory agencies, congress, and yes, even the Presidency.  Each of these have been corrupted and subverted in order to allow the fraud and criminality to continue to the very end.  And the end is nigh, and they know it.  This is the reason they feel up 6 year old girls and check the diapers of babies to get on a plane.  This is the reason for the rollout of hundreds of police "fusion centers" across the country to keep track of the activities of "persons of interest."  This is the reason for roving wiretaps and warrentless surveillance.  They know who the real enemy is.  It's you, and they mean to keep you from exacting any justice on them through the use of the jack boot and the police baton.

There is the reason there has been no real effort to seal the border with Mexico to put a stop to the flow of drugs and violence.  Or to prosecute those who looted trillions using toxic securities.  Or put an end to the wars, assassinations, and overthrow of governments.  All of this is connected together by a web of lies and deceit.  And in the middle are a small cabal of globally influential individuals who feast on human misery and the stench of death.  They feel they rightfully own it all and that you and I are just in the way.

They’ve led us down the road to perdition and we’ve willingly followed them.  Let’s hope enough of us realize what is happening before it’s too late.

piceridu's picture


Faux patriots, flag waving nationalists are no different than the radical zealots that spew hate toward Americans. The claim that those committing or condoning torture are simply defending the country which used to have the highest moral standards in the world and was righteous beyond reproach, is flawed.

Any country that condones torturing any human being and rationalizes it cannot claim to be the bastion for hope or a sanctuary for the dammed. This republic, with our Constitution and a rule of law that was meant to cross every political and social spectrum and was actually meant to protect the weakest from those in power, (and torturing human beings in the name of “right”), cannot claim to stand as the example of justice, honesty and integrity and can no longer claim to be the beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

Spewers of hateful rhetoric and illogic are complicit. Our status as giants of hope and justice, which once was indisputable in the annals of history, is all but gone.

Consequently, faux patriots, flag waving nationalists are no different than Cheney, Rumsey, Wolfowitz or Rove.

Are not elected leaders, political appointees, judges that accused Milosavic, Khadafy, Hussein or Baby Doc Duvalier and the like as being war criminals and stand idly by while choosing not to defend our Constitution undeniably guilty of the same? 


anynonmous's picture


On the role of interrogation:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Can you confirm that it was as a result of water boarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?
LEON PANETTA: Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information and that was true here… It's a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got… 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, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: So finer point, one final time, enhanced interrogation techniques -- which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years -- that includes water boarding?
LEON PANETTA: That's correct.

Libertarian777's picture

we should waterboard The Bernak at his next Congressional testimony.


treemagnet's picture

My dentist clearly believes in torture.....but he got nothing outta me, just tears.

pazmaker's picture

Either you got really good insurance or he does dental work pro bono!!!!  My dentist extracts FDR's from me!!!

PulauHantu29's picture

Torture seldom works John McCain said. IN fact, it gives "them" an ecuse to rip fingernails out, drill teeth, etc since they can say,'You started it."

Clowns on Acid's picture

Ok...GW is on his blame Bush and Cheney horse. Define torure GW. Define terrorism.

McLame and the rest of the "middle of the roaders" have no credence at all. This is all poltical cover for Obama, so he can say "I, I, I , I , got Usama, and I was against "torture". We both statements are false. 

Al least Obama is clear with his beliefs...begin assembling all non whites and promise them...affirmative action, preferential treatment, strong white men are bad/racist, "they want to keep you down", vote for me I will set you free!

At least one knows where he stands.  


Bartanist's picture

Sadly all of the wars and all of the torture, fraud and power theft through the central banking systems leads back to a cabal of coordinated individuals who feel it their right and responsibility to rule the world, whatever the costs (to others).

They have the means to do it and there are enough stupid and desperate people to help them make it happen.

Payne's picture

Torture works.  Been there done that, still can't believe how quickly I was willing to give up any detail after being pulled out of the box.  I recovered in about 5 mins but during that 5 mins I was not thinking about duty country honor.  I have watched other be waterboarded and I would have spilled secrets to prevent it.  George Washington why not volunteer yourself for SERE school I am sure some Petty officer will take pity on you.

gringo28's picture

WTF Zero Hedge? Stop posting all this anti-waterboarding crap and focus on the markets. Here's the bottom line: it worked and it worked well otherwise we wouldn't be discussing it. The current ass-clown's recent attempt to "distinguish" between assasination and enhanced interrogation was about the biggest bag of bullshit i've ever heard so let's just move on and stop wasting everyone's time with this left wing mind-wash shit.


One more thing: waterboarding is NOT torture but coordinated, planned assasination is assasination.

Alcoholic Native American's picture

What is your major malfunction boy

honestann's picture

Wake up!  The torture question is inherently corrupt and irrelevant.  Anyone seriously debating this topic is effectively supporting torture whether they know or intend to or not.  Why, because the premise is this:  If torture is effective, it is ethical and justified.

Let us be clear again.  Assume your neighbor plays loud music at night, which distracts you from doing your work, and prevents you from getting a good night sleep.

I can guarantee you this.  If you murder your neighbor, that will stop him from playing loud music and annoying you.  In other words, murder will be effective.

In this situation, most people would agree that "just because murder is effective doesn't mean murder is ethical".

Well, wake up folks !!!  Being "effective" has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether any behavior is lawful, ethical or justified.

So what the hell is this never-ending argument about whether torture is effective?  Incidentally, this insanity about measuring torture by whether it is effective is very similar to the notion that every form of rights-violation is justified if it is "effective".


nihilist's picture

And just like that you somehow figured out how to appoint yourself as the moral arbiter on ZH!  Pardon my French but go screw yourself.  You condescendingly propose that people that accept the premise that torture is justified because of its effectivity is "kindergarten logic".

Perhaps, maybe, the only reason I would like the take the raghead's balls and clamp them on a vice is simply because I would like to protect the lives of my family and the people I care about, morality notwithstanding.  Ethics and morality are a distant second to the well-being of my family.

What would you do if one of these ragheads and pieces of radical shiites goes after your family, kidnaps your children, and rapes your wife?  Take them to the local Starbucks, buy them a latte, and hope to God they tell you what they did with your family?  Methinks this is a lot different than killing someone because of loud music.  So please, spare me from your moral judgments, lack of logic, and fragile sensibilities.

honestann's picture

You know what?  If you killed everyone on earth except your family, you would have protected your entire family from every being cheated, harmed or killed by any human being.  That would be a very effective way to protect your family from harm.

So what?  Does that make it ethical or even remotely reasonable or acceptable?  According to your "logic", absolutely.

Your last paragraph is completely insane.  If anyone (including pasty white-faced you) goes after me or my family or friends (or anyone else), they are perfectly justified to kill them in self-defense, and I am perfectly justified to kill them to protect them.  But killing someone in the process of harming others is not torture --- it is totally different from torture.

Your conversation is simply overt flaming wacky insanity... a brain just flailing around emotionally with no obvious tie to reality at all.  Just unthinking uncontrolled hate.

The practice of torture is typically being applied to people who may or may not know anything, who may or may not have ever harmed anyone, or ever planned to harm anyone, or ever seriously considered harming anyone.  In other words, torture is not punishment.  Torture is gross abuse and a terrible, egregious crime.  Torture is often blatant assault on a totally innocent human being.  Sure, some people tortured did something wrong somewhere along the line... maybe even something really terrible.  So what?  Somewhere in the USSA are hundreds or thousands of people who killed others and never got caught.  An advocate of torture with your point of view can reasonably say "let's go torture everyone in the USSA to attempt to find those hundreds or thousands of murderers who have never been caught".  Which makes you and anyone who helps you guilty of massive crimes against humanity.

My comment about murdering your neighbor "because it is effective" is exactly on point.  It exposes how utterly corrupt is the debate about "whether torture is ethical or not".  Torture is never ethical.  But torture is not the same as punishment, so nothing I said means we cannot lock people away in prisons, or even execute them when we are certain they are guilty of murder.  And everyone is always totally justified to defend themselves and others against assault, kidnapping, murder and even simple theft.

Do not confuse torture and defense, and never attempt to justify torture.  You can't.

nihilist's picture

You're too fucking stupid to even realize your own stupidity.  I never argued that torture was ethical.  What I'm trying to say is that the question of ethics becomes irrevelant.  Moral judgments are secondary when compared to people's well-being and are also subject to social norms and biases.  Why are you even tying murder to torture?  No one else did.

And why do you keep tying "your version" of  "morality and ethics" into it.  It is obviously impacted by your biases and ideology.  

A rag head Taliban might believe that's is "morally justified" to skin a GI in order to get valuable intel because "Allah wills it".  In this case, his "moral judgment" is a lot different from yours.  So before you start spouting anymore non-sensical "moral judgments" on other people how's about you warm up a couple of your brain synapses before you type so as not to sound mentally retarded.

Oh and by the way, I'm not pasty and white-faced which again explains your myopic viewpoint of life and/or ignorance.

honestann's picture

Ethics is always relevant to human decisions and actions.

And I do not "create my own ethics".  As an honest being, I identify what is ethics, not based upon my wants, my likes, my agenda or my psychology... but based upon the nature of reality and the nature of modern man.

So what am I supposed to take away from your observation that a few rag headed Taliban jerks might be willing to skin someone alive to get intel?  If he ever tries that, we should blow his brains out if we can.  Somehow, I don't believe you disagree with that.  So why the vitriol?

What others believe or what actions others take does not change my ethics.  Why should it?  If my ethics is valid, it gives me the understanding I need to take [appropriate] action... or perhaps no action in some cases.  Your implication that an ethics should change when the situation changes simply reveals the fallacy of your ethics (if you have any at all).

When you say "ethics don't matter [in some situation]", you reveal all any honest being needs to know about you and your intellectual corruption.  After this admission, no statement from you will be surprising.

IdioTsincracY's picture

Anyone seriously debating this topic is effectively supporting torture

Listen dude, the only people trying to measure/justify torture by its effectiveness are its proponents. The rest of us are against it.

the ridiculous part is that these self-identified patriots-pseudo-protectors-of-liberty can't even understand the fact that the very military leaders they worship say that torture is ineffective.

Clowns on Acid's picture

Dude...they don't. Stop fooling yourself. You sound foolish.

honestann's picture

I think you are somewhat correct, but not entirely.  A great many weak minded fools argue torture is not effective - as a way to justify their desire to end torture.  They do not realize they are unwittingly supporting torture by accepting the crafty false premise developed by torture proponents.

Just look at how much debate there is about the effectiveness of torture, and how few people say it doesn't matter whether it is effective or not.

Common_Cents22's picture

Paging Jack Bauer, Jack Bauer to interrogation room #2!

GovernmentMule's picture

If gaining information to protect my wife, my children, or just one person from the threat of harm  is needed...all I can say is hand me the leads- red is positive, black is negitive, and make sure his tesiticles are wet and back your pansy ass up and out of the way.


IdioTsincracY's picture

Are you sure you can find his tesiticles?

nihilist's picture

probably not but I'm pretty sure he won't find your brain!

nah's picture

neo-cons are DIRTAY



jomama's picture

how the hell can anyone realistically make a statement like this... and then be taken seriously...?

IdioTsincracY's picture

Sorry ... some idiot junked my previous post without a worthy commentary, so here  it is again in its glory:

The famous right-wing loser getting waterboarded here, changed his mind about it not being torture afterwards.

All it took was 11 seconds ... chickenshit!

George Washington's picture

It's not a right-versus-left issue.

But as I noted recently ...

Indeed, all of those who said it's not torture - including radio personality Mancow (and see this) and writer Christopher Hitchens - have changed their tune as soon as they got waterboarded themselves for even a few seconds.

Pretend tough guy Sean Hannity said years ago that he would get waterboarded for charity. But for years on end, he has chickened out.

People who advocate waterboarding might talk tough. But as former Navy Judge Advocate General Admiral John Hutson said:

Fundamentally, those kinds of techniques are ineffective. If the goal is to gain actionable intelligence, and it is, and if that’s important, and it is, then we have to use the techniques that are most effective. Torture is the technique of choice of the lazy, stupid and pseudo-tough.

Indeed, George Washington - the father of our country and one tough man - was against torture.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson - the number two man at the State Department under Colin Powell - said today:

Let me waterboard Donald Rumsfeld and then we'll see if he says it's torture or not!

Clowns on Acid's picture
  • Rumsfeld does not interpret his religion as one that tells him to kill infidels
  • Rumsfeld has not driven planes into buildings.
  • The US has never waterboarded Japanese, German, N. Korean, Chinese, nor Iraqi prisoners of war.
  • No one "supports" torture however, the game (with bio and nuke weapons being able to be delivered surreptiously) has changed and to protect ourselves we will adapt.
  • Adapt or die. 
  • Nice try GW, in George Washington's day...warfare was a lot different than today.
  • Where the British concentration camps in the Boer War (starving of women and children)...torture?

Your and others arguments...are incomplete, generalized, embraced to make you feel good. 

TheBillMan's picture

"Rumsfeld does not interpret his religion as one that tells him to kill infidels"
Ah, speaking of Jihad.  Us civilized Europeans did a very nice job of it throughout the Americas, Asia, and Africa during the colonial period.  It's easy to kill those whom you consider lesser beings.  It's all okay now though since many of these folks are now been converted into proper Christians. 

"The US has never waterboarded Japanese, German, N. Korean, Chinese, nor Iraqi prisoners of war."
No just the poor schmucks we picked up off the streets because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Oh, and many of the torture techniques used by all those repressive Latin American dictators were taught by us good ole Americans working in the intelligence services.

"No one "supports" torture however, the game (with bio and nuke weapons being able to be delivered surreptiously) has changed and to protect ourselves we will adapt."
I believe you have a bomb hidden somewhere.  Let's see what torture methods do I use on short notice?  Cutting?  Slicing? Breaking fingers?  Oh, you're innocent after all?  Sorry about that.  No hard feelings.

"Adapt or die."
Well, for once I'll agree with you.  It's good of you to point this out.  Though, I think I've adapted quite well at being able to smell out the bullshit, thank you, like those who think it's a good idea to give over a trillion dollars to the military industrial complex to go butcher and maim over a million people in the name of higher profit margins.  This is also probably not a good time to point out the fact that our Southern border is wide open to the drug gangs while our own BATF is running guns to the outlaws in some stupid stunt to make legal gun owners look bad.  Thank you.  I have adapted, and I think I have a pretty good idea on who the real enemy is.

Nice try GW, in George Washington's day...warfare was a lot different than today.
You are correct again.  It was actually much more cruel in ages past with whole conquered populations being put the sword or sold into slavery.  And if you want to go look up what real torture looked like, just read your history on some of the tortures the Indians and civilized Europeans pulled on each other.

Where the British concentration camps in the Boer War (starving of women and children)...torture?
Ding, ding, ding.  You are correct again, sir.  The British were some of the first to use the concentration camp in both India and South Africa.  And yes, it was torture.

IdioTsincracY's picture

of course it is not a partisan issue ...

the fact still remains that one party IS on the wrong side of the issue.

Urban Redneck's picture

of course it is not a partisan issue ...

the fact still remains that one party IS on the wrong side of the issue.

Your're actually right about something, IT IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT IS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TORTURE ISSUE. No, it is not partisan, it a relection of the fact that persons appointed by Barrack O'Bama, TORTURER-IN-CHIEF, fill the executive branch, and don't dismantle the existing legal infrastructure which supports it, but instead, build upon it.  The intellectual whores of that party who act as leaders in the Congress are UTTERLY SILENT on this issue.  Unfortunately, no one from the previous administration will ever be prosecuted for their actions, for the very same reason no one from this administration will be prosecuted for their actions- because otherwise there would not be peaceful transitions of power following elections, and they might expose actual substantial difference between the major political parties.

Fighting the erosion of civil and human rights is like fighting a forest fire, nothing is achieved by dumping on the easily visible flames a big distance back, other an some good TV for the masses and preventing charcoal from turning to ash, the shit is already burnt.  The real battle is always on the leading edge of the conflagration.    

jomama's picture

dumb shit. there is little to no difference between both corrupted, lobbyist sponsored 'parties', besides puppet show antics on 'swing issues'.

you've got an exceptionally thick skull.

IdioTsincracY's picture

You are correct on the fact that both parties are corrupt and lobbyst-sponsored, as you put it.

That should not preclude us from recognizing the good or bad that each of the two does, otherwise, lacking alternatives,  we are left with just lots of cheap talk.

So, who's got the thick skull, again?

jomama's picture

based on what you just typed, BOTH 'parties' are on the wrong side of the issue, since GW started guantanamo and BO sure as shit ain't closing it.

pointing fingers like this:

the fact still remains that one party IS on the wrong side of the issue.

-is not only disingenuous but completely contradictary to my point, that you agreed with.

IdioTsincracY's picture

unfortunately being able to read is not sufficient for an articulate discussion ... uderstanding what you read would help ...

whatever jomama...

jomama's picture

yeah, i guess i don't 'uderstand' what you mean by one 'party' being on the wrong side of the issue.

a vast majority of your posts here and threads elsewhere indicate nothing more than a narrow-view opinion of another partisan hack falling for the antics of the great puppet show.

whatever indeed.

mayhem_korner's picture

We got tips from Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa...

AR15AU's picture

Torture is maiming people. Cutting off fingers, sticking a glass rod into their pee-hole and smashing it with a rubber mallet.  ETC.

The relentless liberal crybabies would have you believe that splashing cold water and playing butt-rock at loud volumes is the equivalent to bodily mutilation.

A bajillion whiney articles by George Washington will never put icepicks, pliers, and blowtorches on the same level as cold rooms and barking dogs.  

IdioTsincracY's picture

Sometime in 2009 Hannity volunteered to be waterborded .... still waiting...  another chickenshit-right-wing-big-mouth-pseudo-hawk

AR15AU's picture

America hating liberals such as yourself draw a moral equivalency between America and (Iran / Taliban / Stalin / Hitler) when you say "America is a Torturer". It clearly shows the infestation of your tiny, twisted mind.

Alcoholic Native American's picture

Do you know what projection is?

Things that go bump's picture

We should probably mention the close connection to various sexual perversions and sexual sadism that is associated with those who engage in the sorts of activities we are discussing here.  They are the kin of Torquemada and Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.  

IdioTsincracY's picture

WTF are you talking about?

IdioTsincracY's picture

The famous right-wing loser getting waterboarded here, changed his mind about it not being torture afterwards.

All it took was 11 seconds ... chickenshit!