Intelligence that ultimately led to the death of Osama bin Laden was acquired from interrogations at the same CIA “black sites” that Barack Obama shut down and phased out with an Executive Order signed on the second day of his Presidency.

From the AP:

"In a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe (Peak emphasis) years ago, al Qaeda's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, gave authorities the nicknames of several of bin Laden's couriers, four former U.S. intelligence officials said. Those names were among thousands of leads the CIA was pursuing.    

One man became a particular interest for the agency when another detainee, Abu Faraj al-Libi, told interrogators that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed as al-Qaida's operational leader he received the word through a courier. Only bin Laden would have given al-Libi that promotion, CIA officials believed.    

If they could find that courier, they'd find bin Laden.    

The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA's so-called black sites (Peak emphasis) helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.    

"We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day," said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden."

Compare this to news reported in the Washington Times in early 2009, under a headline that reads "Obama to Close Terrorist "Black Sites"".

According to the Times:

President Obama on Thursday will order the closure of so-called black sites, where CIA and European security services (Peak emphasis) have interrogated terrorist suspects, under executive orders dismantling much of the Bush admistration’s architecture for the war on terror, according to four individuals familiar with a draft executive order.    

…The individuals said there will be three executive orders. One will order the black sites closed and require all interrogations of detainees across the entire U.S. intelligence community to adhere to the U.S. Army Field Manual. The manual specifies a range of interrogation techniques that are not considered torture.


CIA Director, Leon Panetta, confirmed to CIA employees in April 2009 that all the sites had been closed.

Barack Obama deserves all the popular praise he is earning today. Obama did the right thing in going after bin Laden in Pakistan.    

But when Barack Obama signed an Executive Order closing these so-called "black sites", he did the wrong thing. In an unbelievable twist of fate, based on our own analysis of the reporting, it is very likely that the same "black sites" that Obama's Executive Order closed, had already uncovered the intelligence representing the first domino that would ultimately lead to the death of Osama bin Laden.    

We say: progressives are wrong about “black sites.” And if they had succeeded in closing the “black sites” any earlier, Osama bin Laden would very likely still be alive and kicking-it in a posh Arab crib just a few short miles from the capitol of Pakistan.

(Photos from White House Flickr feed and Washington Times)