Despite the yearning for a resumption of torture on the part of Dick Cheney and Fox News, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former POW who was tortured in Vietnam, eloquently spoke out on the Senate floor against waterboarding and other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques." McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, disputed the contention that torture led to Bin Laden:
Further, McCain declared his opposition to a “return to the use of waterboarding or other methods of interrogation that I sincerely believe are torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading”; discounted the validity of statements made under torture, in which “a person will say anything he thinks his captors will want to hear”; said that it was unfair to the intelligence community and military to say that “they only succeeded because we used torture”; and stated that American values are at stake in this debate:
In an essay in the Washington Post, McCain further disputed the value of torture in the search for Bin Laden and commented on the harm torture can do to our soldiers:
I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.
In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.
...Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops, who might someday be held captive. While some enemies, and al-Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more conventional enemies, if not in this war then in the next.