Last night we learned that part of the breadcrumb trail of evidence that eventually lead US forces to bin Laden started with intelligence gathered at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. This is a bit of an inconvenient truth for those championing Obama’s leadership today given that the President opposed the detention center as a Senator and promised to close it as a candidate (something he’s yet to do as President for obvious reasons).
Now comes more inconvenient truth: It turns out another break in the case came when information was given up by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed under interrogation (like water boarding) at a secret CIA prison in eastern Europe.
In a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe years ago, al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, gave authorities the nicknames of several of bin Laden’s couriers, four former U.S. intelligence officials said. Those names were among thousands of leads the CIA was pursuing.
One man became a particular interest for the agency when another detainee, Abu Faraj al-Libi, told interrogators that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed as al-Qaida’s operational leader he received the word through a courier. Only bin Laden would have given al-Libi that promotion, CIA officials believed.
If they could find that courier, they’d find bin Laden.
The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.
“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.
It’s worth noting that President Obama signed an order to close these CIA prisons back in 2009 when he was first elected President. It was part of the order he signed to close Guantanamo Bay. The President “also said he didn’t want to have to make a ‘false choice’ between successfully waging war against terrorist organizations and hewing to U.S. human rights ideals in the process,” reported MSNBC.
Now intelligence gathered at these prisons Obama opposed has brought the President the biggest foreign policy victory of his administration.
Those applauding Obama for his leadership in getting to Osama bin Laden ought to keep in mind that it was the policies Obama opposed that won the day.