AND NOW SOME FACTS – AT 9:58 A.M. ET: Although facts aren't particularly respected in the political precincts of the left, many of us find them useful, even necessary. We're so old-fashioned.
Former Director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden tries to introduce the concept of factual evidence into the debate over whether enhanced interrogation techniques yielded useful information. Very well argued. From The Wall Street Journal:
So that there is no ambiguity, let me be doubly clear: It is nearly impossible for me to imagine any operation like the May 2 assault on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that would not have made substantial use of the trove of information derived from CIA detainees, including those on whom enhanced techniques had been used.
...those who are prone to condemn the actions of those who have gone before (while harvesting the fruits of their efforts) might take pause. I've been personally asked about the appropriateness of waterboarding and—recognizing the immense challenge of balancing harsh treatment with saving innocent lives—usually respond: "I thank God that I did not have to make that decision." At the same time, I thank those who preceded me, made such decisions and thereby spared me the worst of the dilemma. Those who deny the usefulness of enhanced interrogation techniques might consider similar caution.
But if they cannot or will not, shouldn't they be true to their faith? If they truly believe that these interrogations did not and could not yield useful intelligence, they should demand that the CIA identify all the information derived directly or indirectly from enhanced interrogation. And then they should insist the agency destroy it. They should also insist that significant portions of the 9/11 Commission Report be rescinded, as it too was based on this data. This would be perfectly consistent with the interrogation deniers' transcendental faith that nothing of use could have come from enhanced interrogations after 9/11.
Strange that we have not heard such calls, even from the most ardent interrogation deniers. Perhaps they are not really like "birthers" and "truthers" after all. Perhaps, when all the public ideological posturing is done, and they are through attacking both their opponents' arguments and their character, they quietly concede to themselves that facts really do matter.
COMMENT: Well said. Director Hayden's arguments parallel those of Richard Miniter, the distinguished journalist and researcher I heard several nights ago, who made it clear that enhanced interrogation techniques produced more than half the information we have about Al Qaeda.
June 2, 2011