Did we torture our way into bin Laden’s lair? The answer seems to be no. It was the assiduous cultivation of a single source that did the job. The defence of illegal methods of interrogation falls apart as soon as it is offered. Dick Cheney wrote in so many words that 9/11 found the United States bereft of any real intelligence on the not-so-new foe. Thus, torture is a prima-facie admission of failure, coupled with an attempt to make up the deficit by strong-arm tactics. Other strong objections to one side, this approach would lead very fast – did lead very fast – to a banana-republic intelligence system. Diminishing returns kick in with terrible speed. Hard work and high morale put an end to the life of Pakistan’s most famous legal immigrant.