US Senator McCain: Torture didn't lead to bin Laden

May 13, 2011 00:29


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WASHINGTON - Political debate over whether Bush administration interrogation practices had helped find Osama bin Laden heated up on Thursday when US Senator John McCain said torture of detained terrorists did not help locate the al-Qaida leader.

McCain said CIA Director Leon Panetta had told him the trail to bin Laden did not -- as some former Bush aides have asserted -- begin with information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind who the US government says was "waterboarded" 183 times.

McCain, the Republican Party's 2008 presidential candidate said he wanted to clear up "misinformation" that could make Americans think harsh treatment of prisoners was acceptable.

"In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden," McCain, who himself suffered torture as a prisoner during the Vietnam war, said in the Senate.

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