Panetta claims torture wasn’t necessary in Bin Laden’s capture

Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talks to American media and claims torture was not needed in the lead up to the capture of Osama bin Laden. (AFP)

The U.S operation that killed al- Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden could have been done without resorting to torture, according to Leon Panetta, the outgoing U.S defense secretary.

He claimed there had been lots of pieces to the "puzzle" which in the end let to the capture and death of bin Laden, the main man held responsible for the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

"Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time - interrogation tactics," said Panetta.

Panetta, the CIA chief from 2009 until he became defense secretary in 2011, oversaw the raid in Pakistan’s Abbottabad that led to the death of al- Qaeda’s number one. His latest remarks were aired Sunday on the NBC program "Meet the Press".

"I think we could have gotten Bin Laden without that," he added in response to a question about what the interviewer called "enhanced interrogation," or torture.

Panetta did not elaborate on how this might have been done, but said most of the intelligence used to find bin Laden had been stitched together without resort to torture.

He made a reference to the 2012 film "Zero Dark Thirty," which portrayed the hunt for bin laden and which ended up leading to the successful 2011 raid on the al-Qaeda leader's safe-house.

Torture techniques have been reported by some CIA veterans and they have actually defended methods like sleep deprivation, waterboarding and hypothermia which played a large part in tracking down al-Qaeda’s main man.

Jose Rodriguez, who played a key role in setting up and administering the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program, recently traced an early break in the bin Laden hunt to a detainee.

In 2004 this detainee came gave substantive information about bin Laden's courier.

According to Rodriguez, the author of "Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives", this information led to "years of meticulous intelligence work", he wrote in an essay last month in the Washington Post.

 

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