Courting Disaster: Political Correctness Versus National Security

Remember all the furor by the left concerning the techniques used by the CIA to extract information from al Qaeda suspects a few years ago? Most of the news media never got around to telling you the rest of the story.

Marc Thiessen, a former President George W. Bush senior speech writer, just released a book a while back entitled “How the CIA Kept America Safe.” In it he describes just how effective the CIA was in preventing additional terrorist acts that few Americans are aware of.

One of the most interesting segments of the book concerns top al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), remember that peach of a man? Thiessen describes just how dangerous he was before his final capture:

“Just before dawn on March 1, 2003, two dozen heavily armed Pakistani tactical assault forces move in and surround a safe house in Rawalpindi. A few hours earlier they had received a text message from an informant inside the house. It read: ‘I am with KSM.'”

Courting Disaster: Political Correctness Versus National Security
Courting Disaster book cover

Thiessen goes on to write KSM was found in his bedroom. He was whisked to a secret safe house after operatives found a treasure trove of computers, documents, cell phones and other valuable evidence.

KSM proved to be defiant in his long interrogation. Refusing to answer the most basic questions, this murderer of innocent people asked for a lawyer. Not being an American citizen, the CIA had other plans for this monster.

After many hours of questions as he showed nothing but contempt, it was obvious to those in the room he had been fully trained in resistance to ongoing interrogation. He kept repeating the ominous words, “Soon, you will know.”

Know what? It was blatantly obvious that standard interrogation techniques would not get KSM to talk. Thus, “enhanced interrogation techniques” were applied that are restricted for only the highest value detainees; aka waterboarding.

It wasn’t long before KSM began to talk, and talk he did. He told his questioners of al Qaeda plots to launch attacks against the United States and other Western targets. He even utilized a chalkboard to educate the CIA agents as though they were his students.

He helps identify voices in intercepted telephone calls. He even helps interrogators to decipher coded terrorist communications. It all leads to the capture of numerous high-ranking fellow terrorists. That in turn leads to more than 6,000 intelligence reports shared with friendly intelligence agencies around the world.

Among numerous al Qaeda plots KSM’s information helped intelligence agencies stop was the 1994-1995 plan known as the “Bojinka plot” to blow up a dozen airplanes carrying some 4,000 innocent passengers over the Pacific Ocean. British officials proceed to unravel the plot.

The following was only possible because of the waterboarding techniques that broke KSM:

On the night of Aug. 9, 2006, British commandos launched a series of raids in a northeast London suburb. It directly led to the arrest of more than two dozen al Qaeda terrorist suspects.

Here’s the kicker. They find a USB thumb-drive in the pocket of one of the men with security details for London’s Heathrow airport as well as seven trans-Atlantic flights that were scheduled to take off within hours of each other. The lives saved could have been yours. You could have been on business or taking a trip with your family.

Those flights included:

– United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco departing at 2:15 PM
– Air Canada Flight 849 to Toronto departing at 3:00 PM
– Air Canada Flight 865 to Montreal departing at 3:15 PM
– United Airlines Flight 959 to Chicago departing at 3:40 PM
– United Airlines Flight 925 to Washington departing at 4:20 PM
– American Airlines Flight 131 to New York departing at 4:35 PM
– American Airlines Flight 91 to Chicago departing at 4:50 PM

The raid included confiscation of bomb-making equipment and hydrogen peroxide to make liquid explosives. It also uncovered a bone-chilling series of martyrdom videos to be distributed after the slaughter.

Not many Americans have knowledge of this incident. It has been buried with almost certainly other major plots quashed with “enhanced interrogation techniques.” But all you have heard from many politicians is how “barbaric” this from of police work towards vengeful murderers is.

This information was uncovered thanks to a “whatever it takes” interrogation of the man, woman and child murderer known as KSM, aka Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The program was temporarily suspended in 2006. At least half the information our government had about al Qaeda; how it operates, how it moves money, how it communicates, how it recruits operatives, how it picks targets, how it plans and carries out attacks, came from the interrogation of terrorists in CIA custody, period. This program alone was worth more than what the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency itself and the National Security Agency could ever supply.

But alas, on January 22, 2009, two days after President Barack Obama was inaugurated, he issued Executive Order 13491, closing the CIA program and directing that, henceforth, all interrogations by U. S. personnel must follow the techniques contained in the Army Field Manual. Huh?

Not to be outdone for an outrageous act, on April 16, 2009, President Obama ordered the release of four Justice Department memos that described in detail the techniques used to interrogate KSM and other high-value terrorists. That’s right, he informed America’s enemies of our techniques to extract vital information to save American lives.

Naturally most top CIA officials and many others begged Obama not to do this, but political correctness triumphed over national security. In addition, it put multitudes of agency operatives in dire straits. Yet Obama ignored the advice.

It can be argued with extreme merit that Barack Obama with the single stroke of a pen did more damage to this country’s national security in his first 100 days in office that any president in history.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.