8:58 AM, May 2, 2011
• By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A lot of parties inside the American government, from President Obama on down, will rightly claim credit for the demise of Osama bin Laden. But one party, in particular, deserves mention because its members have been repeatedly demonized in the press: the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).
The New York Times reports (emphasis added):
As Obama administration officials described it, the real breakthrough came when they finally figured out the name and location of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, whom the Qaeda chief appeared to rely on to maintain contacts with the outside world.
Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated.
The press has been quick to highlight every reported instance of abuse (most of them fiction) and every case where an innocent was detained (comparatively few). At the same time, our leading press organizations, including the New York Times, have either ignored or downplayed the value of the intelligence learned through interrogations at Guantanamo. Yet, it was that intelligence that ultimately led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
Yes, it took time and additional intelligence to piece together the whole picture. But the initial lead came from detainees at Guantanamo – and what a lead it was!
Hopefully, journalists can now revisit the substantial cache of documents – including both declassified documents and those leaked – that have come out of Guantanamo over the years.
If they do, they just might learn that the operation to kill Osama bin Laden was not JTF-GTMO’s only success. Far more victories have been earned by American authorities there.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies