Andrew Sullivan examines the efforts by right-wing media to push the claim that torture of certain detainees in U.S. custody helped lead the CIA to Osama bin Laden’s courier, who then led the CIA to the Pakistani compound where he had been living.
Sullivan says the claim has already “become a meme,” citing several comments from right-wing media pundits helping to create it. Sullivan also cites a piece by David Weigel, who writes that we should expect to hear more about how the Bush administration’s policy on interrogations produced results. “It may not be Republican candidates pointing this out,” Weigel writes. “They don’t need to. George W. Bush has a considerable amen chorus in the press, with former staffers like Marc Thiessen, Michael Gerson, and John Yoo writing regular columns about how the 43rd president was right.”
Sullivan continues, “Leave aside the horrifying fact that Republicans, seeking to score some ownership this triumph, would look to torture as their contribution. Why not the beefed up on-the-ground intelligence from 2005 on? That’s Bush’s legacy that Obama built on. Besides, there is no evidence that it played any part whatsoever."
Sullivan also notes a piece by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who cites an article from The New York Times that “the turning point came when detainees being held in Guantánamo – not in the C.I.A.’s secret black-site prisons – revealed to American interrogators the pseudonym used by the key bin Laden courier, whom they also identified as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”