Vindication is sweet my friends.

WASHINGTON — Intelligence garnered from waterboarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and kill him, CIA Chief Leon Panetta told NBC News on Tuesday.

“Enhanced interrogation techniques” were used to extract information that led to the mission’s success, Panetta said during an interview with anchor Brian Williams. Those techniques included waterboarding, he acknowledged.

Panetta, who in a 2009 CIA confirmation hearing declared “water-boarding is torture and it’s wrong,” said Tuesday that debate about its use will continue.

“Whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always gonna be an open question,” Panetta said.

“In the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information and that was true here,” Panetta said. “We had a multiple source — a multiple series of sources — that provided information with regards to the situation. Clearly some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees but we also had information from other sources as well.”

Panetta’s comments hours after Attorney General Eric Holder defended as lawful Tuesday the intelligence gathering and raid that resulted in the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

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