One of the greatest coups in intelligence-gathering since the 9/11 terrorist attacks was accomplished not via the much-derided "harsh interrogation techniques" (or as it was known in certain Washington DC underground bunkers for the last 8 years, Freedom Cuddling®). Robert McFadden of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI's Ali Soufan cajoled Osama Bin Laden's chief bodyguard into spilling his guts without making him literally spill his guts. They didn't deprive Abu Jandal of sleep nor did they waterboard him. Rather, they offered him a cookie.
Jandal was arguably as close to Bin Laden as anybody could be. He was sworn to take a bullet for the Al Qaeda leader and had the kind of access to the man that portended a wealth of knowledge about the terrorist group. At first, Jandal refused to testify, denying Al Qaeda's involvement in 9/11 and going on extended rants that expounded upon his loathing for the United States. Oh God, yet another terrorist in the "Blame America First" crowd.
Soufan did not make headway in the interrogations until he noticed that Jandal was not eating the cookies that had been served to him with tea. Jandal is diabetic and can not eat anything with sugar. So Soufan brought him sugar-free cookies and apparently that convinced the former bodyguard from Yemen to give up information. He appreciated the kind gesture and was much less hostile to the interrogators afterwards.
However, it did take some cunning and trickery to extract all of the information. They presented pictures of suspected terrorists to him and he acutely identified the Al Qaeda members. Then they told him that those individuals were the 9/11 hijackers and Jandal knew the jig was up. He exposed Mohammad Atta and the other Word Trade Center attack perpetrators.
Such techniques are far from uncommon within the military and intelligence community. Everything from lying about the interrogator's nationality to suggesting that a suspect's friends or relatives could be released from custody if he or she were to offer important information. But cookies?!
I mean, waterboarding is regarded by most experts on the subject to be torture. But what if the H2O was replaced by warm gooey cookie dough? Mmmmm mmm! Talk about a Geneva Confection! Yet, perhaps suffering would occur from all of it going straight to the prisoner's thighs. Then he'll get depressed knowing undoubtedly that those 72 virgins in heaven are only banging him for his martyrdom and not his Al Qaeda-training-camp-monkey-bar-sculpted physique.