Nobody rounds up the news like Dan Froomkin, and his latest piece is on the reaction among interrogators and intelligence professionals on whether torture helped us track down Osama bin Laden. Here’s the summary:
Defenders of the Bush administration’s interrogation policies have claimed vindication from reports that bin Laden was tracked down in small part due to information received from brutalized detainees some six to eight years ago.
But that sequence of events — even if true — doesn’t demonstrate the effectiveness of torture, these experts say. Rather, it indicates bin Laden could have been caught much earlier had those detainees been interrogated properly.
The truth is that the US captured a number of people who knew the name of the courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden, and none of them ever gave up the name, even under torture.
It’s sad but unsurprising that having invested their legacies in the promotion and defense of interrogation techniques that the US has, in the past, treated as war crimes, the defenders of torture are absolutely compelled to make completely unjustifiable claims about its efficacy. And, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out yesterday, the eagerness of torture apologists to justify its use in response to Osama bin Laden being found shows that they were always lying about reserving it for “ticking time bomb” scenarios.