Though the CIA is reluctant to disclose its intelligence-gathering techniques, defense secretary Leon Panetta admitted on Sunday during a Meet the Press interview that torture techniques -- such as waterboarding -- were used to gain information regarding the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.
Speculation regarding the CIA’s use of waterboarding intensified after the release of the controversial and critically acclaimed film “Zero Dark Thirty.” During the first fifteen minutes of the film, which director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal claim is based on first-hand accounts, the filmmakers depict an intense waterboarding torture scene as an interrogation technique.
During the interview, Panetta does not overtly explain how intelligence was gathered but he did not deny the use of torture tactics.
“In order to put the puzzle of intelligence together that led us to bin Laden, there were a lot of pieces out there that were a part of that puzzle. Yes, Some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time,” Panetta said after calling to attention the fact that it is a movie, and so has been dramatized.
“But the fact is we put together most of that intelligence without having to resort to that,” Panetta admitted.
Waterboarding has been a controversial topic in regards to interrogation techniques, as it simulates drowning for the suspect. In most cases, the suspect’s face is covered with a cloth or plastic and then interrogators pour water on his or her face.
In response to the film, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has clearly stated that waterboarding techniques were not used in the interrogation of bin Laden’s courier, who eventually led to the CIA to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.
Bigelow and Boal, however, took creative license in order to make the point that waterboarding is used by the CIA, even if it was not for that one crucial interrogation. The filmmakers gathered information over a few years’ worth of interviews and first-hand accounts.
“It was all based on first hands accounts so it really felt very vivid and very vital and very, very immediate and visceral of course which is very exciting as a film maker,” Bigelow said, according to the Daily Mail.
Source: Daily Mail