Daily Kos rebuts the growing myth that waterboarding produced a big result: preventing al Qaeda from carrying out a plan to fly an airliner into a building in Los Angeles.
But the plan was prevented more than a year before KSM was taken into custody. (It’s possible the information was news to the administration, as the U.S. government wasn’t involved in saving these American lives.)
Torture advocates are claiming justification for the “enhanced interrogation” techniques , saying waterboarding foiled a terror plot to carry out a 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.
The May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that details what happened in this regard was written by then-Principal Deputy Attorney General Steven G. Bradbury to John A. Rizzo, the senior deputy general counsel for the CIA.
“You have informed us that the interrogation of KSM – once enhanced techniques were employed – led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles,” says the memo.
While the memo does say that enhanced techniques “led to the discovery” of the plan, it does NOT say “led to the prevention” of this “Second Wave”. That’s because the plan was prevented over a year before KSM was taken into custody, and it wasn’t prevented by American intelligence, let alone American torture.
This is not speculation. In 2005, then-president Bush announced:
“We now know that in October 2001, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad — the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks — had already set in motion a plan to have terrorist operatives hijack an airplane using shoe bombs to breach the cockpit door, and fly the plane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We believe the intended target was [Library] Tower in Los Angeles, California.”
Their plot was derailed in early 2002 when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key al Qaeda operative. Subsequent debriefings and other intelligence operations made clear the intended target, and how al Qaeda hoped to execute it. This critical intelligence helped other allies capture the ringleaders and other known operatives who had been recruited for this plot. The West Coast plot had been thwarted. Our efforts did not end there. In the summer of 2003, our partners in Southeast Asia conducted another successful manhunt that led to the capture of the terrorist Hambali.”
The torture of KSM provided the United States nothing but a war story and international disgust.