Water boarding was among the interrogation methods that led to finding the location of terrorist and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout, according to Congressman Michael McCaul, an Austin Republican (authenticated by a spokesperson).
McCaul’s spokesperson confirmed the Congressman made that statement following bin Laden’s killing by a U.S. operative on Sunday night. McCaul, a member of both the U.S. House Homeland Security and the House Foreign Affairs Committees, additionally told the Houston Chronicle that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – believed to be one of the main coordinators of the 9/11 attacks – gave U.S. officials the name of a courier used by bin Laden.
Politico quoted senior administration officials saying interrogators discovered the name of that courier in 2007 and tracked him to the Pakistani compound last August. It eventually led to a helicopter full of Navy SEALs finding and killing bin Laden Sunday.
McCaul’s spokesperson said the Congressman has described bin Laden’s hiding place as a million-dollar stronghold in an upper class suburb of Abbottabad 35 miles north of Pakistan’s capital.
The aggressive interrogation methods used to find this information came during the Bush administration, something that has been heavily criticized. But McCaul’s spokesperson confirms the Congressman has said those methods – including a simulated drowning technique called water boarding – were indeed very valuable.
The spokesperson also confirmed McCaul has indicated Congress will soon look into what role if any Pakistan had in bin Laden’s decade-long run from the U.S.
On Sunday, McCaul appeared on KXAN’s Session ’11, speaking about the nation’s fight against Mexican drug cartels. He has filed a bill to label those groups terrorists, allowing the U.S. to more closely work with the Mexican government to aggressively pursue the criminals.
NOTE: Some other online outlets say some officials like former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have a different view on how the information leading to bin Laden’s location was gathered. One article suggests it was not through “harsh treatment” or “water boarding.” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also talks in a KXAN Political Blog post about conversations with former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden and why he believes aggressive interrogations are no longer used.