Thursday, May 5, 2011

Former U.S. Interrogator In Iraq: Torture Didn’t Yield Bin Laden

Countering those like former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld who argue that the use of torture under the Bush administration was essential to finding Osama bin Laden, Lawrence O’Donnell spoke to Matthew Alexander (a pseudonym), who conducted or supervised over 1,300 interrogations in Iraq that led to the capture of Al Qaeda leaders and the killing of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Alexander spoke about the ineffectiveness of torture, its negative consequences and his own interrogation techniques:

ALEXANDER: What former secretary Rumsfeld should explain to us then is how come we didn’t find or locate Osama bin Laden back when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded in 2002 and 2003 after his capture and when these and other detainees were exposed to other enhanced interrogation techniques? Those techniques ended years ago and never resulted in the critical pieces of information that would have handed us Bin Laden and his exact location. This notion that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave us a critical piece, first of all, it came a year after he was waterboarded. It wasn’t those techniques that got that information …The long term, negative consequences of using torture and abuse greatly outweigh any benefit you get from them. I saw in Iraq when I was overseeing interrogations of foreign fighters who were coming to fight because of the torture…This resulted in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American soldiers in Iraq. … I found that when I built a relationship of trust...I was able to get them to cooperate. Our success rate in Iraq for my team was upwards of 80%. I have no doubt that American interrogators are more than capable of defeating Al Qaeda terrorists in the interrogation booth in the battle of wits.

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