Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has thrown cold water on the argument that extreme interrogation methods are necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, telling NewsMax that waterboarding was not used to identify Osama bin Laden’s courier. Rumsfeld denied that waterboarding has been used at Guantanamo Bay at all, giving a spirited defense of the legacy of his former boss, President George W. Bush. John Yoo, who wrote a series of memos providing legal justification for “enhanced interrogation” while at the Bush Justice Department, argued that these techniques made bin Laden’s elimination possible. —KDG
Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
Rumsfeld reiterated that the killing of bin Laden exonerates the Bush administration’s response to 9/11.
“It certainly points up the fact that the structures that President Bush put into place — military commissions, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention, and humane treatment, but intensive interrogation to be sure — all contributed to the success we’ve had in the global war on terror.
“The fact that we’ve not had another attack on America for close to a decade, I don’t think anyone would have been bold enough to predict that 10 years ago.
“And certainly the killing of bin Laden is a testimony to our intelligence community. We’ve always had the ability to capture or kill Osama. What we didn’t have was the intelligence that was needed.”