Apr 23, 2009

How Waterboarding Saved Los Angeles

By Jack Kinsella

Less than a week after declaring that it was time for the nation to move on rather than “laying blame for the past,” Obama described what might be done next to investigate what he called the loss of “our moral bearings.”

Answering a reporter’s question, Obama said that it would be up to his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., to determine whether “those who formulated those legal decisions” behind the interrogation methods should be prosecuted.

The methods, described in Bush-era memos Obama released last Thursday, included such grim and demeaning tactics as slamming detainees against walls and subjecting them to waterboarding, which is simulated drowning. The harsher methods were authorized to gain information after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Obama said CIA operatives who did the interrogating should not be charged with crimes because they thought they were following the law as interpreted by Bush administration.

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

Before they were subjected to “enhanced techniques” of interrogation that included waterboarding, KSM and Zubaydah were not only uncooperative but also appeared contemptuous of the will of the American people to defend themselves.

After he was subjected to the “waterboard” technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Related Links

Rice gave early 'waterboarding green light' - AFP
Obama Helps Our Enemies... - Bill O'Reilly / Karl Rove (YouTube)
Obama’s torture memo two-step - Christian Science Monitor