Just days after the U.S. military killed Usama bin Laden, a debate has started in Congress over whether enhanced interrogation techniques and waterboarding led to the discovery and demise of the terror leader.
The U.S. uses enhanced or harsh interrogation techniques to question terror suspects. But soon after taking office, President Obama ended the practice of waterboarding over concerns it amounted to torture.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee struck first Tuesday, suggesting the questioning of Guantanamo detainees didn't cause officials to find the courier who ultimately led them to bin Laden's Pakistan hideaway.
"Nothing has been found to indicate that this came out of Guantanamo and people were questioned, but there were no positive answers as to the identity of this number one courier," Feinstein said. "[T]o the best of our knowledge based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practice
But Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee disagreed with Feinstein's assessment.
"There has been a lot of debate in this country about our detention and interrogation policy but this is probably one of the clearest examples ... of the extraordinary value of the information we've been able to gather," Chambliss said in a speech on the Senate floor. "If we had not had access to this information, Osama bin Laden would likely still be operating undetected today. It is because of the information gained from these detainees, pursued and analyzed over the years that led us to the compound."
On the House side, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and member of the House Intelligence committee, refuted the idea that waterboarding didn't play a role in how the U.S. got to bin Laden. He says the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks started the ball rolling.
"The initial info [about the courier] came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after waterboarding." King said, adding his information came from someone very familiar with what happened.
A 2005 Justice Department memo showed that Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times in 2003. But Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, disputed King's claim, saying the U.S. has good interrogations that are free of waterboarding.
"That's not the standard that we use and we're very successful," he said.