Harold Hutchison / Jan. 28, 2020

The Betrayal of an American Patriot Continues

The architect of enhanced interrogation is still being legally harassed for his work to defend America.

When it comes to the Global War on Terror, America has a lot of thinking to do about the lessons we have learned and what the future course should be. The country must also confront the fact that it has left some of those who stepped up to protect this country high and dry.

In particular, we’re talking about Patriots who stepped up to get very committed, high-ranking members of al-Qaida to talk. To do so, they developed enhanced-interrogation techniques that ultimately succeeded against Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, among others. That success proved to be vital — almost as vital as the codebreaking efforts of Joe Rochefort prior to the World War II Battle of Midway.

It should be noted that in some corners, Rochefort’s efforts were seen as underhanded. In fact, codebreaking was once shut down prior to World War II while one politician huffed, “Gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail.” For reasons of national security (and bureaucratic infighting by DC insiders who were shown up), Rochefort’s vital contributions remained in the shadows for decades. But today, Rochefort is recognized as a hero.

Sadly, those who got KSM and other high-ranking terrorists to talk not only saw their efforts prematurely exposed but also have been dealing with an ongoing betrayal stretching over a decade of persecution by a Gitmo Bar that makes Hanoi Jane look like a piker.

The latest example is James Mitchell, Air Force architect of enhanced interrogation, being dragged into a courtroom last week. The Central Intelligence Agency is not a law-enforcement agency. Its job is to obtain intelligence however it can in order to protect American interests across the globe — not to mention the lives of Americans. Sometimes, those methods are not pleasant.

The fact of the matter is that in the wake of 9/11, America had a huge problem as it tried to not only recover from the first attack but prevent others. How do we make high-ranking, committed jihadists talk? We asked people, including Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to develop techniques that would get those terrorists to spill their guts. Mitchell and Jessen did so. Those techniques were reviewed on multiple occasions — some were approved, some weren’t — by the Justice Department. Mitchell and Jessen then used the approved techniques.

When the terrorists talked, they divulged information that helped in the fight against al-Qaida. Unfortunately, the interrogation program was leaked to the press, which used it to attack George W. Bush. Then politicians chose to attack it — even when, immediately after 9/11, those same politicians fell all over themselves to back the CIA. The betrayal that started with leaks grew substantially worse in 2009, when Barack Obama tied the hands of the CIA with an executive order. The interrogators faced a Justice Department investigation and persecution from the Gitmo Bar.

Then there was a flawed hit piece of a report that attacked the men who got KSM to talk. Then-Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain compounded the betrayal by placing Obama’s hamstringing of the CIA into law. Now, Mitchell is forced to defend himself (which he did very ably), instead of being protected by the country that asked him to take on a difficult and important task vital to the War on Terror.

Unfortunately, this betrayal is, in some ways, impossible to undo. What we can do, though, is to hear Patriots like Mitchell and Jose Rodriguez explain what went on with the enhanced-interrogation program. You can develop a broader sense of what President Bush did to protect America from another 9/11 from the book Courting Disaster, by Marc Theissen. You should also read the side of the story Dianne Feinstein refused to tell in the book Rebuttal.

When your Patriot Post team looks at this case, along with the attempted prosecution of Mat Golsteyn, the railroading of Clint Lorance, and others, it is with a mix of anger and sadness. America should have the backs of the brave men and women on the front lines of the War on Terror instead of allowing them to be stabbed in the back or second-guessed weeks, months, or even years later. We must never forget the lessons of the War on Terror, or they will be reinforced again with tragedy and cost us dearly in blood and treasure.

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