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Obama Politicizes Bin Laden Raid, Again

12:05 PM, Sep 7, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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According to former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, Jr., Ghul told authorities that bin Laden “depended solely on a single courier who went by ‘Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.’”

A separate account by Reuters, and other reporting, confirms that Ghul was the detainee who offered up this key piece of intelligence.

It was after Ghul spoke about al-Kuwaiti that CIA officials went back and pulled all of the intelligence on him. It turned out that other detainees, both in the CIA’s custody and at Guantanamo, had also talked about the courier, even though they were not as clear about his role as Ghul was. Some detainees, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, tried to dismiss the courier’s importance entirely.

But this is how the cat-and-mouse game of interrogations worked. The CIA’s documents show that they expected many al Qaeda detainees to hide some of their secrets no matter what interrogation techniques were used. And while KSM did not directly give up the goods on al-Kuwaiti, he did with respect to other key operatives.

The bottom line is this: The intelligence that led to bin Laden’s courier, which led to bin Laden himself, came out of the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation programs. Other intelligence was used as well, but there is no material dispute over the provenance of the original intelligence on the courier.

President Obama has frequently criticized the programs that led to his most noteworthy counterterrorism success. Obama shut down the CIA’s program entirely and attempted to do the same with Guantanamo. 

And instead of giving a nod to his predecessor on Thursday night, and acknowledging that the raid that got bin Laden was a victory for his political opponents as well, President Obama resorted to a cheap political attack.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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