Accuracy in Media


The United States is in danger of another 9/11 attack, because the U.S. is no longer focused on capturing, detaining and interrogating the senior leaders of al-Quaida, a former White House senior staff member said at the Heritage Foundation.

Around the same time President Obama was releasing the information about the CIA enhanced interrogation program and eliminated the program, a new terrorist organization was forming called al-Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a merger of al-Quaida in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, said Marc Thiessen, author of the book, Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack.Thiessen, , a chief speechwriter for President Bush, a member of the White House senior staff and spokesman and policy advisor to the late Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Jesse Helms.

“According to the Obama Administration, after the Christmas Day attack, they had no idea that this transnational terrorist network had ambitions to attack the U.S. or had the capability to attack … yet they almost did,” Thiessen said.

The reason why the U.S. did not see this attack coming is because the U.S. is no longer trying to capture, detain and interrogate the senior al-Quaida leaders, Thiessen added.

He was told intelligence is like putting together a puzzle-all the pieces are laid out on the table, though the picture is covered, Thiessen said.

While one can get the puzzle pieces from many different places, like intercepts of emails, Thiessen said, “The only way to get the picture on the box is to capture the person who drew the picture.”

When a person like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11, is captured, “You are not just getting more pieces of the puzzle you can get somewhere else-he’s giving you something you can get nowhere else-how the pieces you already have fit together,” Thiessen said.

Thiessen said the Left often claims enhanced interrogation doesn’t work because terrorists will tell interrogators anything to get the techniques to stop.

He said this is not true, because interrogation was not used to get intelligence but to compel the cooperation of the resistant detainee.

When the interrogators used enhanced interrogation techniques on detainees, the interrogators would ask the detainees questions the interrogators already knew the answers to in order to gauge if the detainees have stopped resisting, Thiessen said.

Thiessen said, after a senior member of al-Quaida, Abu Zubaydah, was water-boarded he thanked his interrogators.

According to Thiessen, Abu Zubaydah said, “water-boarding lifted a burden from his shoulders-the burden to resist.”

Abu Zubaydah claimed, the Jihadi philosophy says Allah is going to prevail no matter what is said to the interrogators, so his responsibility to Allah is to resist as far as he can and once he has met his limit, he is free to speak, Thiessen said.

Thiessen said the CIA techniques were effective, because they gave the terrorists something to resist but were not torture and did not cross the line into severe mental and physical suffering.

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed came into CIA custody, the interrogators asked him for the plans on new attacks, but he refused to tell them anything, Thiessen said.

“After water-boarding, he ran a grad school lecture class on the operations of al-Quaida,” Thiessen said.

Half of what the U.S. knew about al-Quaida in 2006 came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other captured terrorists in the CIA program, Thiessen said.


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