The Corner

Could a Captured Taliban Leader Have Warned Us of the Times Square Plot?

In today’s Washington Post, I write about the fitful interrogation the highest ranking Taliban leader ever taken into custody in the War on Terror, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. 

Baradar was captured in late January in Karachi. Just days later, a Taliban-trained terrorist, Faisal Shahzad, was deployed to the United States on a mission to blow up a car bomb in Times Square.

This raises a number of important questions:

Did Baradar know about the Times Square plot? Did he successfully withhold this information from his interrogators? Why is Baradar still in Pakistani, instead of American, custody? Why is he being allowed to withhold information and choose what he will and will not tell his interrogators? Why has the Obama administration’s vaunted “High Value Interrogation Group” not been deployed to question Baradar? Is the United States doing everything in its power to obtain all the information Baradar possesses? If not, why not? And could enhanced interrogation have helped us stop the Times Square plot?

For the second time in a matter of months, disaster was averted because a terrorist bomb malfunctioned. Next time we might not be so lucky. And if the next bomb does go off, such questions will be asked not by me, but by the next 9/11 Commission. Is the Obama administration ready to answer?

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