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John McCain: No Evidence Waterboarding Helped Find Bin Laden

Count John McCain among those who are skeptical about the role waterboarding played in finding Osama bin Laden:

Sen. John McCain denounced “advanced interrogation” methods like waterboarding Wednesday amid a growing debate over its effectiveness reopened by the killing of Osama bin Laden.

McCain told reporters leaving an intelligence briefing for senators by CIA director Leon Panetta that he has seen no information so far to indicate that techniques like waterboarding factored significantly in the information gathering that led to bin Laden’s death.

“So far I know of no information that was obtained, that would have been useful, by ‘advanced interrogation.’ In fact, according to published reports … some of the key people who knew about this courrier denied it,” McCain said, careful to note that he was not relaying information from Panetta’s classified session with Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee members.

“Where there is published information in the various newspapers and media that the information about this courrier was intercepted conversation between two individuals — that’s as far as I know,” the top Republicans on the Armed Services Committee added. “I stand on the side of the United States and by the Geneva conventions, of which we are signatories, which we were in violation of by waterboarding.”

Of course, as I noted, the question of whether or not waterboarding “worked” in the bin Laden investigation is largely irrelevant.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

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