Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
He also added, surprising no one, that he thinks “possibly some people connected to the Pakistani intelligence services, may or may not have had information about his location.”
UPDATE: Naturally, that couldn’t stand. Rumsfeld waited all of ten hours before reversing himself on Sean Hannity’s show:
I’m told there was some confusion today on some programs…suggesting that I indicated that no one who was waterboarded at Guantanamo provided any information on this. That’s just not true. What I said was no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the U.S. military…Three people were waterboarded by the CIA…and then later brought to Guantanamo. In fact… the information that came from those individuals was critically important.
So, two things here:
1) How fucking lily-livered is that? The original statement and this follow-up were apparently both intended, not to make any kind of actual statement about the efficacy or necessity of waterboarding, but simply to shield Don Rumsfeld from liability in the remote event that the Obama Administration ever decides to do anything about all the torturing that was going on under the Bush administration.
2) Note the careful parsing of the last few sentences. Three people were waterboarded, and information from those individuals was critically important. Any conclusions drawn about causation are purely your own, Sean. Wink.