Dead Terrorists Answer No Questions

by John Yoo

The WikiLeaks release of Gitmo detainee files, while reprehensible, also shows the perverse consequences of the Obama administration’s terrorism policies. As the files show, the United States has gleaned enormously valuable intelligence from the detainees, information that it could not have gotten anywhere else, including the leaders and structure of al-Qaeda, its resources and capabilities, its locations and finances, and most important, its future plans of attack. We can see now why CIA directors have said that most of our most valuable intelligence on al-Qaeda in the first years after 9/11 came from interrogations, and we can imagine how it led to our initial successes, such as stopping follow-on attacks on the United States and its allies and capturing many of al-Qaeda’s top leaders. And now the Obama administration has willingly given all of that up: It will not add any detainees to Gitmo, so it will not capture any more al-Qaeda fighters. Instead, Obama’s weapon of choice is the drone missile attack which, while clean and far from the prying eyes of journalists, forgoes any intelligence gained from capturing the enemy. Dead terrorists answer no questions. Which means that the Gitmo files contain a level of intelligence on the enemy that will be a bounty compared to the poverty of intelligence coming in today.

— John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush.


The Corner

The one and only.