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  • 1 April 2014, 10:30

Torture 'Did Not Lead To Bin Laden'

Waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a Senate investigation has concluded.

The report by the Senate intelligence committee examined the treatment of several high-level terror detainees and the information they provided on the man widely considered to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

The CIA disputes the conclusions and the intelligence agency is locked in a fight with the committee over the case.

Former Bush administration figures and top CIA officials said trailing bin Laden to his compound in Pakistan was vindication of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" they authorised after the September 11 attacks.

But Democratic and some Republican senators have called that account misleading, saying waterboarding - where a detainee is subjected to simulated drownings - sleep deprivation and other such practices were cruel and ineffective.

The 6,200-page report backs the latter. The document is still secret but a congressional vote on Thursday may look to declassify a summary.

The most high-profile detainee linked to the bin Laden investigation was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is of accused of masterminding 9/11 mastermind and who was waterboarded 183 times.

Mohammed confirmed after his 2003 capture that he knew an important al Qaeda courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti.

The Senate report concludes such information was not critical.

Mohammed only discussed al Kuwaiti months after being waterboarded, while he was under standard interrogation, according to congressional aides familiar with the report.

And Mohammed neither acknowledged al Kuwaiti's significance nor provided interrogators with the courier's real name.

The courier eventually led US intelligence to the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad, where bin Laden was hiding.

There, in May 2011, Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in a secret mission.

The issue of whether torture was instrumental in leading US officials to bin Laden was also hotly debated after the release of the Oscar nominated movie Zero Dark Thirty, a dramatisation of the hunt for the terror chief.

The movie shows torture to have played an important role in finding bin Laden, but group of US senators disputed that view.

Critics also said the movie endorsed torture, though this was dismissed as "absurd" by star Jessica Chastain and others involved in the film.

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