In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, ABC has shown very little interest in whether enhanced interrogation, such as waterboarding, led to the terrorist's ultimate demise. NBC, however, dealt with the subject in an in-depth manner and CBS at least mentioned it.
While interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday never broached waterboarding. In contrast, Matt Lauer on NBC's Today talked to Rice and wondered, "These enhanced interrogation techniques. Some former administration officials are now connecting the dots between those techniques and the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Do you feel the dots can be connected?"
On the same program, reporter Jim Miklaszewski asserted, "U.S. officials tell NBC News that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while in CIA custody provided key information regarding a courier close to bin Laden, intelligence sometimes obtained through aggressive interrogation techniques like water boarding."
ABC's GMA never mentioned enhanced interrogation. Recounting the events leading up to bin Laden's death, reporter Brian Ross blandly explained, "So, the CIA began a masterful operation to focus on the courier who picked up and delivered bin laden's video and audio messages to the world."
On Monday's World News, Ross was only slightly less vague. He simply noted, "U.S. officials say detainees held at Guantanamo helped lead them to the courier."
On CBS's Early Show, reporter David Martin related information obtained about the hunt for bin Laden: "Well, they got [a courier's] nickname from their interrogation of the al Qaeda operatives, and some of these were operatives, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who were held in those secret CIA prisons where they were subjected to waterboarding."
In total, NBC discussed waterboarding and enhanced interrogation in the Miklaszewski segment, the Rice interview and in a piece immediately prior to it. (Monday's Nightly News also featured a story on the subject.) While the information on what impact these interrogation methods had is still being debated, couldn't ABC have at least discussed the issue?
A partial transcript of the NBC mentions on the May 3 Today can be found below:
MATT LAUER: Plus, the White House is getting a lot of credit for the operation, but did those controversial enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding used by the Bush administration yield the key information that eventually led to bin Laden?
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: U.S. officials tell NBC News that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed while in CIA custody, provided key information regarding a courier close to bin Laden, intelligence sometimes obtained through aggressive interrogation techniques like water boarding. It took seven years but the CIA identified a courier and tracked him to the compound where bin laden was killed. Besides getting bin Laden, those Navy SEALs gathered up thousands of al secret al Qaeda documents on computers and hard drives that analysts are going to wade through that, trying to unlock the deep secrets of al Qaeda. Meredith?
MATT LAUER to CONDOLEEZZA RICE: These enhanced interrogation techniques. Some former administration officials are now connecting the dots between those techniques and the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Do you feel the dots can be connected?