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May 5th, 2011
08:45 AM ET

Harsh interrogation debate returns with bin Laden takedown

Washington (CNN) - Within hours of President Barack Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed, politics entered the fray.

A small but vocal group of Republicans including former Bush administration officials began claiming that information obtained from waterboarding and other now-prohibited enhanced interrogation techniques led to the successful assault on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Interviews and commentaries by conservatives, including former Vice President Dick Cheney repeated the contention, citing media reports rather than direct information.

A closer look shows no obvious evidence of a direct connection, at least to waterboarding, the simulated drowning technique considered to be torture under international law.

While administration officials, former interrogators and others concede that thousands of pieces of information collected over the past nine years eventually brought U.S. Navy SEALs to bin Laden, no one has cited specific information that came from the harsh interrogations labeled torture.

That doesn't stop defenders of enhanced interrogations from trying.

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