In a speech on the Senate floor, the Arizona Republican said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other Bush Administration supporters of harsh interrogation techniques were wrong to claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, provided information that led to bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Sen. McCain, spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, and also said that torture is not an acceptable tool for the U.S. to use in the fight against terrorism.
Senator McCain said that according to the facts provided to him by CIA Director Leon Panetta, the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed, and that the name of bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.
“Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information,” McCain said. He called on Mukasey and others to correct their misstatements.
McCain also said “Ultimately, this is about morality. What is at stake here is the very idea of America — the America whose values have inspired the world and instilled in the hearts of its citizens the certainty that, no matter how hard we fight, no matter how dangerous our adversary, in the course of vanquishing our enemies we do not compromise our deepest values,”..”We are America, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. That is what is really at stake.”