Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup

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The plot, and ethical questions, grow thicker. Apparently, Osama bin Laden was unarmed when Navy SEALS shot him. And so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” may have led the U.S. to his compound. VP Joe Biden fingered rosary beads on Sunday afternoon as the president and advisers gathered in the Situation Room to monitor the operation, the […]

  • Mark Chancey

    Actually, the New York Times article makes the exact opposite point about “enhanced interrogations,” saying, “But a closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out.” The article notes that one detainee who was subjected to harsh questioning provided one piece of the larger matrix of information that led to the raid, but the article does not make clear whether the “enhanced” technique itself got that information out of the detainee or of the detainee provided it in a different (and perhaps “un-enhanced”) session of questioning.

  • Daniel Burke

    Excellent point, Mark. However, a Washington Post article from May 2 takes the opposite tack:

    A crucial break appears to have come on May 2, 2005, when Pakistani special forces arrested a senior al-Qaeda operative known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi, who had been designated bin Laden’s “official messenger” to others within the organization. Libbi was later turned over to the CIA and held at a “black site” prison where he was subjected to the harsh methods that the George W. Bush administration termed “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

    Libbi and other detainees pointed CIA interrogators to another messenger with close ties to the al-Qaeda leader. U.S. officials said they started only with the mystery courier’s nom de guerre, and that it took four years to uncover his actual identity, his approximate location in Pakistan and ultimately the compound where bin Laden was found.