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Sen. McCain Opposes Torture; Says Waterboarding Did Not Lead to bin Laden Courier

John McCain/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Az) wrote Thursday in a Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post that he opposed torture, and said it just isn’t true that waterboarding lead authorities to the trusted courier of the Osama bin Laden.

“Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.

As for the courier, he stated:

“Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that ‘the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.’” That is false.”

“I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.”

He also stated that he was against anyone being prosecuted for using any of the methods he opposes.

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