Monday, June 13, 2005

Time's Story on Guantanamo Interrogation

Time magazine wrote an article on interrogation of one detainee at Guantanamo. The Time story concerns detainee Mohammad al Kahtanni, who was to be the 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001 but was prevented from entering the U.S. The Department of Defense yesterday issued a response.

As the DOD's press release reminds us, the environment immediately after September 11 as far different than Time wisshes to acknowledge. Specifically,
- There had just been anthrax attacks in the U.S. in December of 2001.
Richard Reid tried to blow up a U.S. airliner with a shoe bomb.
- Over the spring and summer, there were deadly attacks in Tunisia and Pakistan.
- In October 2002 al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri released a tape recording stating “God willing, we will continue targeting the keys of the American economy.”
- In September and October, the FBI broke up the Lackawana Six cell in New York.
- On October 6, 2002, al-Qaida attacked a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, an attack that harkened back to the killing of 17 service members on the USS Cole.
- On October 8, 2002, al-Qaida gunmen shot and killed a US Marine in Kuwait.
- On October 12, 2002, al-Qaida affiliate Jemaah Islamiya bombed a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, killing more than 200 and injuring about 300.
- On November 28, 2002, al-Qaida fired two anti aircraft missiles at a Boeing 757 aircraft flying from Mombassa, Kenya to Israel; suicide bombers also attacked the Paradise Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya killing 15 and injuring 40.
- On December 30, 2002, three U.S. citizens were killed in Yemen during an attack on Baptist Missionary Hospital.
Through interrogation, Khatani revealed:

- He had been sent to the U.S. by Khalid Sheik Mohamed, the lead architect of the 9/11 attack;
- That he had met Osama Bin Laden on several occasions;
- That he had received terrorist training at two al-Qaida camps;
- That he had been in contact with many senior al-Qaida leaders.
Khatani provided other information as well. This additional information:
- Clarified Jose Padilla’s and Richard Reid’s relationship with al-Qaida and their activities in Afghanistan
- Provided infiltration routes and methods used by al-Qaida to cross borders undetected
- Explained how Osama Bin Laden evaded capture by U.S. forces, as well as provided important information on his health
- Provided detailed information about 30 of Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards who are also held at Guantanamo

The Guantanamo interrogations, which have not amounted to torture, have thwarted some of the terrorists' plans and have saved American lives. Of the Guantanamo detainees who have been released, approximately a dozen have returned to fighting and killing Americans.

We should not forget that the Guantanamo detainees include some of the worst terrorists in the world. Nonetheless, we have treated the detainees humanely, certainly far more humanely than Al Qaeda has treated its prisoners.

The critics of Guantanamo and interrogation of its detainees forget or ignore the very real threat that Al Qaeda poses to Americans. How many lives are the critics willing to sacrifice to make a political point?

(Hat tip to Power Line)


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