That’s Marc Thiessen, who opines in his WaPo column today that if only the Obama administration had forced the Pakistani intelligence authorities to hand over Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second-highest-ranking leader in the Afghan Taliban behind Mullah Muhammad Omar — to the C.I.A. when Baradar was captured in February, and if only the C.I.A. could have taken Baradar for a nice little torture session in one of the C.I.A.’s black sites that Pres. Obama shut down, then maybe Baradar could have told his U.S. interrogators about Faisal Shahzad’s plans to bomb Times Square. Because obviously, Baradar must have known about those plans (emphasis is mine):
Did a captured Taliban leader know about the Times Square plot and withhold this information from his interrogators?
On Sunday, Obama administration officials, including counterterrorism chief John Brennan, declared that the Taliban was behind the attack and that Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, had “extensive interactions” with Taliban leaders in Pakistan. Yet just a few months before Shahzad attempted to blow up a car bomb in the heart of Manhattan, U.S. and Pakistani officials captured the highest-ranking Taliban leader ever detained in the war on terror — Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. This raises a critical question: Could Baradar have warned us about the Times Square attack?
Joe Klein treats Thiessen’s speculations with the appropriate contempt (emphasis is mine):
Marc Thiessen, the Washington Post’s new pro-torture columnist, has a typically brutish piece today in which he argues that if we only treated our latest Taliban trophy-capture, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the same way we treated Khalid Sheik Mohammed–i.e. waterboarded him in a CIA black site–we might find out who was running the Time Square bomber and a host of other terrorist secrets. Thiessen’s theory is that all these Taliban guys are alike. Even though they have differing allies, agendas and areas of operation, they know everything there is to know about each other’s operations.
And it is true that there is a certain amount of overlap–but, as any Pakistani intelligence officer can tell you, there are real differences as well. Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, appears to have been trained and run by the Pakistani Taliban. (For those keeping a scorecard: these are the enemy of the Pakistani government.) Baradar is the second in command of the Afghan Taliban (who are allies of the Pakistani government). …
… Thiessen’s knee-jerk reaction–torture the sucker–is not only immoral and impossible, since he is a member of a Taliban faction allied with Pakistan, it is stone stupid. …
Yeah, but that’s Marc Thiessen.