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Bill O’Reilly Thrilled And Delighted Waterboarding Played Role In Bin Laden Killing

Reported by Ellen - May 3, 2011 -

Bill O’Reilly didn’t even try to hide his excitement tonight when he was told by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) that key information leading to the tracking down (and killing) Osama Bin Laden was obtained by waterboarding. For me, waterboarding and other forms of "enhanced interrogation" are torture, barbaric and beneath any American but if someone buys the “we’ve got to use it” line, I’d at least hope he or she would feel gravely sorry for the need. Not O’Reilly! I’d swear he was glad to hear the technique was used. Oh, and can you catch where King says “Obama” instead of “Osama?” UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel casts serious doubt on whether the waterboarding actually worked.

At the beginning of the interview, O’Reilly asked King, “Congressman, right off the bat, tell me something I don’t know” about the death of Bin Laden.

King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee said, “We obtained (important information about Bin Laden’s courier) through waterboarding and so for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, who say that it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information which directly led us to Bin Laden.”

“Wow!” O’Reilly said excitedly. He stopped King from moving on in order to ask, “How did we get that information?” …Was it Guantanamo Bay?”

King said the waterboarding was done in “an overseas prison” during the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to King, KSM “gave us the first lead and then later on al-Libi, who also was a top aide to Bin Laden. He was also being interrogated with strong interrogation measures and he confirmed information about the courier. So key information we got on a very, very vital part came from waterboarding.”

O’Reilly, still sounding excited, said, “That is absolutely fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.” Later, as the segment closed, O’Reilly said, “It’s really a blockbuster headline about that waterboarding stuff. Very interesting.”

Why would this be so interesting if not for the fact that O’Reilly saw waterboarding not as some kind of loathsome but necessary tool – like capital punishment, say – but as an avenue for self-validation and, of course, giving cred to the Bush administration at a time when they were not looking so good on what was supposed to be their key issue?

UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler has an excellent analysis at emptywheel. The entire post is worth reading but she notes the following:

(W)hile the CIA may have learned the courier’s nickname earlier, they didn’t learn his true name until “four years ago”–so late 2006 at the earliest. And they didn’t learn where the courier operated until around 2009.

From these dates we can conclude that either KSM shielded the courier’s identity entirely until close to 2007, or he told his interrogators that there was a courier who might be protecting bin Laden early in his detention but they were never able to force him to give the courier’s true name or his location, at least not until three or four years after the waterboarding of KSM ended. That’s either a sign of the rank incompetence of KSM’s interrogators (that is, that they missed the significance of a courier protecting OBL), or a sign he was able to withstand whatever treatment they used with him.

...If KSM and al-Libi revealed details about the courier (and al-Libi’s Gitmo file suggests he did; KSM’s, which is dated two years earlier, does not), they shielded the most important information about him for years.

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