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Valuable Intel or More Terrorists? Pt. II

January 10, 2010

Marc Thiessen’s latest column makes this sentence seem passé:

The fact is that you can’t sit around and say that our interrogation techniques produced more terrorists than we would have otherwise had without acknowledging that said techniques save innocent lives, because neither of those “facts” is based on any calculable data.

Not so, says Thiessen:

According to recently declassified CIA documents, after 9/11, there were two terrorist networks at large that were planning new attacks on America: the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed network that planned the 9/11 attacks (and had set in motion plots to fly planes in to Heathrow airport and blow up the U.S. consulate in Karachi), and the “Hambali network” which KSM had tasked to hijack an airplane and fly it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles. We knew virtually nothing about these two networks or their plans—until KSM and other senior al Qaeda leaders provided information under CIA questioning that allowed us to dismantle them.

Well, we still don’t have any idea how many new terrorists our post-9/11 policies have produced, but we do know that said policies have stopped major terrorist attacks that could have taken untold amounts of innocent American lives.  This, of course, does not erase the ethical dilemma, but does make proponents of the Thiessen lot seem a lot more sensible, and their opponents seem more pacifistic.

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