Which Will It Be? Your Righteous Indignation, or Los Angeles?

By John W. Lillpop

Jack Benny, late, great comedian from days gone by, was renowned for being a penny-pinching tightwad. In one of his more memorable gags, Benny was confronted by an armed robber who issued the challenge, "Your money or your life!"

In his inimitable style, Benny paused momentarily and replied, "Let me think about!"

As funny as that line is, it is no more nonsensical than the Obama administration's position on "harsh interrogation techniques."

Indeed, President Obama recently announced that he is "open" to prosecuting former Bush administration members who authorized CIA interrogators to use water boarding on terrorists, which would include an uncooperative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who masterminded the 9/11 attacks.

Obama may wish to rethink his "kinder, gentler" approach based on a report which indicates that harsh interrogation techniques yielded information that enabled law enforcement officials to thwart a planned terrorist attack on Los Angeles.

As reported, in part, at cnsnews.com:


'Soon, you will know.'

"That is the ominous statement an uncooperative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, told his Central Intelligence Agency interrogators when they initially asked him, after he had been captured, about additional planned al-Qaida attacks on the United States.

"As CIA Acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo explained in a 2004 letter to then-Acting Assistant Attorney General Daniel. On Tuesday, the CIA confirmed that it stands by assertions credited to the agency in this 2005 memo that subjecting KSM to “enhanced techniques” of interrogation—including waterboarding—caused him to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to stop a planned 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

"Before they were waterboarded, both KSM and Abu Zubaydah did not believe Americans had the will to stop al-Qaida, the 2005 Justice Department memo says, citing information from the CIA.

“Both KSM and Zubaydah had ‘expressed their belief that the general U.S. population was ‘weak,’ lacked resilience and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals,’” said the memo. “Indeed, before the CIA used enhanced techniques in its interrogation of KSM, KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon, you will know.’

"After he was waterboarded, KSM provided the CIA with information that allowed the U.S. government to close down a terror cell already “tasked” with flying a jet into a building in Los Angeles.

"According to the CIA, it produced cooperation in the mastermind of 9-11 and thus yielded information used to stop a 9-11 type attack on the West Coast.

"President Obama says he has prohibited the interrogation techniques described in the Justice Department memos he released. Next time the CIA catches a KSM, they must be kinder and gentler with him."

The saddest part of this story is that if the Obama administration had been in power when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being interrogated, Los Angeles might be the west coast version of Ground Zero.