The story we know so far of Osama bin Laden's tracking and killing reflects success in intelligence reform, interagency coordination and old-fashioned intelligence-gathering. Well-informed sources from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Guantanamo interrogators to the White House have insisted that information gleaned from "advanced interrogation techniques" - or torture - played little or no role, or was actually counter-productive by generating false leads. National security and military leaders have long argued that torture is not only an ineffective tool for extracting information, but it is also harmful overall to counterterrorism efforts. In fact, experts have made clear in recent days that the information that led to bin Laden's whereabouts was the result of years of hard work and deep investigation. As Graham said, "I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work."
This evening President Bush will give a farewell address to the nation in which he will undoubtedly claim that thanks to his national security policies America has not been hit by a terrorist attack since 9/11. But while our law enforcement agencies and military work to protect Americans from attack, President Bush leaves behind a legacy of failure. The Bush Administration has succeeded in overinflating the terrorist threat at home and utterly discrediting it abroad.
Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver, was convicted on a charge of material assistance to terrorism and acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. The Bush administration’s military commissions have not only violated our basic values and traditions; almost seven years after the 9/11 attacks, they have failed to bring terrorists to justice while damaging the credibility of our justice system and our democracy in the eyes of the world.
Richard Clarke, Steven Simon, Brian Katulis and Rand Beers comment on newly declassified intelligence that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to hit targets inside the United States.