May 3, 2011


Bin Laden's death rekindles 'enhanced' interrogation debate: Did high-pressure questioning of suspected terrorists lead to al-Qaida leader? (Michael Isikoff, 5/02/11, Nesweek)

The trail that led to the doorstep of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan began years earlier with aggressive interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and CIA “black site" prisons overseas, according to U.S. officials.

It was those sometimes controversial interrogations that first produced descriptions of members of bin Laden’s courier network, including one critical Middle Eastern courier who along with his brother was protecting bin Laden at his heavily fortified compound in Abbottabad on Sunday. [...]

The identity of at least one of the detainees who provided early information about the courier who led to bin Laden could be politically explosive. According to a U.S. official, that detainee was notorious Saudi al-Qaida operative and accused 9/11 conspirator Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was subjected to some of the most humiliating interrogations at Guantanamo. Among the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him were being forced to wear a woman’s bra, being led around on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks and being subjected to cold temperatures that twice required his hospitalization, according to a later U.S. military report.

U.S. officials have accused Qahtani of being the so-called 20th hijacker for the 9/11 plot based on his unsuccessful attempt to enter the U.S. in August 2011 at the Orlando airport, where lead hijacker Mohammed Atta had arrived to meet him.

But in January 2009, Susan Crawford, then chief of the U.S. military commissions under President George W. Bush, rejected the proposed prosecution of Qahtani because of what had been done to him in interrogations at Guantanamo. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture,” Crawford told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.

Posted by at May 3, 2011 8:40 PM

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