The evidence that CIA interrogations played a key role in the operation that got Osama bin Laden is overwhelming. Countless intelligence officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta, have confirmed that detainees interrogated by the CIA provided information that helped lead us to bin Laden. But the CIA deniers continue to insist it is all a “big lie.” Despite this testimony, and the mountains of documents declassified by the Obama administration in 2009, they contend that CIA interrogations did not work.
Well, if they won’t believe these sources, perhaps they’ll believe WikiLeaks.
I doubt it was Julian Assange’s intent to provide still additional evidence of the effectiveness of CIA interrogations, but that is precisely what WikiLeaks’ “Gitmo Files” do. Take, for example, the file on Abu Faraj al-Libi — one of several CIA detainees who helped lead the agency to bin Laden’s courier. The document describes Abu Faraj as the “communications gateway” to bin Laden who once in custody “reported on al-Qai’das methods for choosing and employing couriers, as well as preferred communications means.” Based on intelligence obtained from Abu Faraj and other CIA detainees, it states that “in July 2003, [Abu Faraj] received a letter from UBL’s designated courier” (to whom he referred by a false name, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan) in which “UBL stated [Abu Faraj] would be the official messenger between UBL and others in Pakistan.” The file also notes a vital piece of intelligence: To better carry out his new duties “in mid-2003, [Abu Faraj] moved his family to Abbottabad” — the city where bin Laden eventually met his end — “and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar.” And the file reveals that “in mid-April 2005, [Abu Faraj] began arranging for a store front to be used as a meeting place and drop point for messages he wanted to exchange” with bin Laden’s courier and was captured while waiting to meet him.
It is a miracle that al-Qaeda leaders did not read this classified document before bin Laden was killed. If they had, they would have been alerted to the fact that the CIA was on the trail of bin Laden’s courier, and they would had made the connection between the courier, bin Laden and Abbottabad — which could have blown the bin Laden operation.
The Gitmo Files also describe intelligence CIA detainees provided that led to the disruption of planned post-9/11 terrorist attacks. For example, the documents describe KSM’s plan for an “11 September-style attack against Heathrow airport” that involved “crashing numerous airplanes into Heathrow, with a secondary explosion immediately outside the airport as a diversion.”