Panetta Writes McCain: CIA Interrogation Did Not Reveal Osama's Courier
Glenn Sargent at The Plum Line obtained a copy of the May 9th letter CIA Chief Leon Panetta wrote John McCain. He quotes three paragraphs:
Nearly 10 years of intensive intelligence work led the CIA to conclude that Bin Ladin was likely hiding at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. there was no one “essential and indispensible” key piece of information that led us to this conclusion. Rather, the intelligence picture was developed via painstaking collection and analysis. Multiple streams of intelligence — including from detainees, but also from multiple other sources — led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was at this compound. Some of the detainees who provided useful information about the facilitator/courier’s role had been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. Whether those techniques were the “only timely and effective way” to obtain such information is a matter of debate and cannot be established definitively. What is definitive is that that information was only a part of multiple streams of intelligence that led us to Bin Ladin.
Let me further point out that we first learned about the facilitator/courier’s nom de guerre from a detainee not in CIA custody in 2002. It is also important to note that some detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques attempted to provide false or misleading information about the facilitator/courier. These attempts to falsify the facilitator/courier’s role were alerting.
In the end, no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.
Marcy at Empty Wheel provides further analysis.
Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Pakistan's ISI Chief, told Parliament just days ago that it provided the crucial information to the CIA about the courier.
Citing an example of the CIA’s withholding of information, he said the ISI had provided complete information about Abu Ahmad Al Kuwaiti, the courier in the Osama saga, but when the CIA, acting on the lead, arrested one of his friends in Kuwait, it did not share the development with the ISI.
More from the Telegraph which says Pakistan is furious and won't continue sharing information.
"They are furious. They handed over telephone intercepts in 2009 that were crucial in leading to bin Laden's courier – the key breakthrough in the hunt," said a source briefed on relations between the two countries.
"Then four months ago they were told there was nothing in it, it was what the Americans called a 'cold lead'. Since then they have been left out completely out of the loop."
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