ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With reports swirling that intelligence that helped locate Osama bin Laden began with information obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President Dick Cheney said it “wouldn’t be surprising” if interrogation techniques authorized by President Bush provided critical intelligence that led to bin Laden’s death.
“It’s an enhanced interrogation program that we put in place back in our first term,” Cheney told Jonathan Karl, in an interview we aired on ABC’s “Top Line” today.
“And I don’t know the details. All I know is what I’ve seen in the newspaper at this point, but it wouldn’t be surprising if in fact that program produced results that ultimately contributed to the success of this venture.”
Cheney continued: “It’s I think important to look at this as a continuum. I mean, it’s not just on one day you get up, bang, and you got Osama bin Laden. It’s the kind of thing where an awful lot of people over a long period of time, thousands have worked this case and worked these issues and followed up on the leads and captured bad guys and interrogated them and so forth.”
“Enhanced interrogation techniques” were a set of special, harsh tactics authorized by President Bush for use in limited circumstances to extract information from high-value suspects. President Obama ended the use of those techniques, including waterboarding.
Asked if information gleaned through such methods played a role in locating bin Laden, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said “multiple detainees provided insights” that helped find him.
“But reporting from detainees was just a slice of the information that has been gathered by incredibly diligent professionals over the years in the intelligence community,” Carney said. “And it simply strains credulity to suggest that a piece of information that may or may not have been gathered in — eight years ago somehow directly led to a successful mission on Sunday. That’s just not the case.
Watch the “Top Line” segment with Dick Cheney HERE.
And read the full transcript of the interview HERE.
ABC’s Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.