Wednesday, May 4, 2011

GOP's Tortured Logic: How We Got Osama Bin Laden

Like so many memes that persist in politics, this one started on the Internet.

The morning after President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, conservatives started crowing that credit should be given to President George W. Bush -- specifically, for having the foresight and courage to torture the people who provided the initial scraps of intel that ultimately led the CIA to a giant compound just north of Islamabad. 

The most prominent of these conservatives was Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who took to Twitter to ask sardonically, "Wonder what President Obama thinks of water boarding now? 

About two hours later, the Associated Press published a brief story claiming that the CIA obtained the initial intelligence it needed to find bin Laden from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- the so-called mastermind of 9/11 -- and his successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi at CIA black sites in Poland and Romania. 

Those secret prisons, which the Obama administration contends to have abandoned, were the facilities where Mohammed and al-Libi were waterboarded.

There, the detainees supposedly identified by nom de guerre a courier who would years later be located by American intelligence officials, and lead them to bin Laden's compound.