That massive report on the Bush administration’s torture regime put together by the Senate Intelligence Committee has still not been released, even in redacted form, but someone with the committee has leaked one of the key findings: That torture did nothing to help find Osama Bin Laden.
A hotly disputed Senate torture report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to congressional aides and outside experts familiar with the investigation…
The report, congressional aides and outside experts said, examines the treatment of several high-level terror detainees and the information they provided on bin Laden. The aides and people briefed on the report spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the confidential document.
The most high-profile detainee linked to the bin Laden investigation was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the CIA waterboarded 183 times. Mohammed, intelligence officials have noted, confirmed after his 2003 capture that he knew an important al-Qaida courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.
But the report concludes that such information wasn’t critical, according to the aides. Mohammed only discussed al-Kuwaiti months after being waterboarded, while he was under standard interrogation, they said. And Mohammed neither acknowledged al-Kuwaiti’s significance nor provided interrogators with the courier’s real name.
I have no doubt that this was leaked by a staffer, almost certainly with the approval of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as the latest salvo in their battle with the CIA over alleged spying on committee staffers while they were compiling the report. But it’s a pretty weak response. It’s not like Feinstein actually has the slightest interest in actually reining in the CIA or holding anyone accountable for torture. So all this is really just a food fight that matters little.