Did 'enhanced interrogation' save Los Angeles?

If you live in L.A. and didn't die in a terrorist attack, you may owe it to the CIA's use of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that are currently under fire from the Obama administration and the left-wing fringe.

In a compelling Op-Ed in Tuesday's Washington Post,  Marc A. Thiessen disproves Barack Obama's hollow claim that such techniques "did not make us safer." Rather than following the MSM lead and merely parroting the Obamatons' talking points after the release of previously-classified memos this week, Thiessen actually examined the documents.

Thiessen concludes that Obama's contention is "patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public -- in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media."

"...that have gone virtually unreported in the media." No surprise there. The legacy media has proved to be singularly un-inquisitive when it comes to facts that get in the way of Obama talking points.

Thiessen specifically refers to a May, 2005 memo regarding two top al Qaeda operatives, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah:

"the CIA believes 'the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.' . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques... Before the CIA used enhanced techniques ... KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will find out.' "

But once the enhanced techniques were used, "interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates."

In other words, the techniques worked when previous interrogation methods had failed.

Indeed, the memos point out that the only way to get information from Qaeda operatives may be through the use of such enhanced methods:

"as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, 'brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship."

The CIA documents reveal specifically that the enhanced techniques:

"led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the 'Second Wave,' 'to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into' a building in Los Angeles... information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the 'Second Wave.' "

Further, the memo states that KSM might never have been captured, and the information he revealed never learned, without enhanced interrogation techniques used against  Zubaydah.

"...Zubaydah -- again, once enhanced techniques were employed -- furnished detailed information regarding al Qaeda's 'organizational structure, key operatives, and modus operandi' and identified KSM as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks."

The 'Second Wave' attack planned by KSM, thwarted by the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, would have hijacked a jetliner and crashed it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the tallest building on the West Coast. Thiessen points out, "without enhanced interrogations, there could be a hole in the ground in Los Angeles to match the one in New York."

But the impact would have been far worse than the physical devastation to L.A and the resultant thousands of casualties. The nation was reeling after 9/11, deadly anthrax was being delivered through the mail, the economy was in trouble. A follow-up attack on the West Coast would have meant that, potentially, no one was safe. The effect would have been devastating.

Even Obama's hand-picked CIA Director, has admitted that he might consent to enhanced interrogation techniques under a "ticking time bomb" scenario. And that is exactly the scenario in which the techniques were used during the Bush administration.

Perhaps the next time that Obama takes his Tele-prompter to L.A. to discuss "Overseas Contingency Operations," he should be grateful that they were.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author
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