Today on Meet the Press, outbound Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta downplayed the role of enhanced interrogation techniques — derided by critics as a form of torture — in locating Osama bin Laden. He said that the recent film Zero Dark Thirty, which portrays torture as an essential part of the intelligence process that led to the raid that killed the Al-Qaeda, did not tell the "real story" of the C.I.A.'s investigation.
And unsurprisingly, here's what the Drudge Report ran with instead of accurately reporting Panetta's statements:
Hard to understand how misleading Drudge's headline is. Here's the actual quote from Panetta:
The real story was that in order to put the puzzle of intelligence together that led us to Bin Laden, there were a lot of pieces out there that were a part of that puzzle. Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time, interrogation tactics that were used. But the fact is we put together most of that intelligence without having to resort to that.
That seems to me like Panetta is stating directly that enhanced interrogation techniques could not be characterized as leading directly to bin Laden, but rather formed a small part of the overall intelligence that helped them in the search.
Likewise, the Gateway Pundit is straight-up lying when they say Panetta admitted, "yes, waterboarding worked."
Why are conservative commentators jumping over themselves to justify torture, when Panetta clearly said that torture as portrayed in Zero Dark Thirty was inaccurate? Why claim Panetta is saying, "waterboarding worked" when his statements are actually clearly intended to direct the conversation away from enhanced interrogation?
Talk about spin.
Watch the exchange below: