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Senate Intel Leadership Split on Enhanced Interrogation's Role in Path to bin Laden Senate Intel Leadership Split on Enhanced Interrogation's Role in Path...

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national security

Senate Intel Leadership Split on Enhanced Interrogation's Role in Path to bin Laden

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that enhanced interrogation techniques that had been used for years under the George W. Bush administration to glean information from detainees helped lead to Osama bin Laden’s death -- putting him at odds with the committee chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein.

“We gleaned some very valuable information from prisoners at [Guantanamo Bay] or prisoners who may have been at a different location and interrogated and ultimately sent to Gitmo,” Chambliss said on Fox. “And certainly the enhanced interrogation techniques helped produce information that may have led to the takedown of bin Laden. But we know for a fact that there is other information that we have gleaned that allowed us to take down bad guys around the world. So there is no question of what the CIA interrogation techniques proved very, very valuable.”


On Tuesday, Feinstein, D-Calif., said that “to the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of [the information that led to finding bin Laden] came as a result of harsh interrogation practices,”

To this difference in opinion, Chambliss said: “Obviously we may have a difference of opinion as to what is enhanced interrogation, and I will just say that based on the information that I have, the interrogation of Gitmo detainees did provide leads to bin Laden.”

For more than a year, the Democratic staff on the Intelligence Committee has been conducting an investigation into the CIA’s now-defunct program of enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, and of rendition, under which detainees were taken to secret prisons abroad and subjected to practices even harsher practices. Feinstein said her staff has looked over more than 3 million documents. “I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted and, in my view, nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used,” Feinstein said.


The path that led to bin Laden was a composite of good intelligence, “a piece here, a piece there, put together,” Feinstein said. "Plus this man coming in and out of this compound. Going 90 miles away, using a phone, taking out the battery, destroying the phone -- that kind of thing.”

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