Terror Trial Comes to DC

Does Riduan Isamuddin's trial demonstrate the effectiveness of torture?

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Riduan Isamuddin, AKA Hambali, is going to trial in Washington DC for the 2002 Bali bombings which left 202 people dead. While some think there can be a link made between aggressive interrogation methods and intelligence gathering in this case, Adam Serwer of The American Prospect isn't convinced

Under interrogation by the CIA at a black site, Hambali revealed plans for a "wave" of attacks on U.S. subways and businesses and a planned attack using anthrax--except as Jane Mayer reported in The Dark Side, those plots had already been disrupted by December 2001, and the scientist developing the anthrax was already in U.S. custody.

As for whether the information KSM gave led to Hambali's capture, some of it may have. It's politically convenient for the the GOP to draw a direct line between KSM being waterboarded and Hambali being captured, but that presupposes that the U.S. had no assistance from overseas partners. In the imaginary world of 24, all you have to do is torture a suspect to get information. But in reality, piecing together intelligence information is a complicated process, and it's highly unlikely that KSM provided the only information that led to Hambali's capture. The Bush administration's prior misleading characterizations of how useful information gleaned through torture was don't exactly inspire confidence.

Do you think a parallel can be made?

Speaking of terrorism and intelligence and such, a recent Gallup poll says 71% of Americans are in favor of profiling at the airport.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM