Читать онлайн "The Black Banners" автора Soufan Ali H. - RuLit - Страница 97

 
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Given the CTC’s absence, [1 word redacted] assumed [1 word redacted] would be supporting the local CIA team in interrogating Abu Zubaydah, as Frahm had made it clear that it was a CIA operation. [1 word redacted] were there to support them and not to take control. As soon as Abu Zubaydah arrived and was set up, [1 word redacted] went to the CIA chief of base and asked when they were planning to start interviewing him. He was surprised at my question. “Who? Us?” he asked. “I don’t know anything about this guy, and neither do my guys. But I understand you FBI guys know something about him, so why don’t you do the interviews? We’re all working for Uncle Sam.”

[2 words redacted] walked into the makeshift hospital room we had helped set up a few hours earlier. Abu Zubaydah was lying in the center on a gurney. His face was covered by a bag, a normal procedure when transporting terrorists. He was barely moving. Parts of his body were bandaged up, and elsewhere he had cuts and bruises. He was in critical condition. His wrists were handcuffed to the gurney.

[2 words redacted] the bag from his head. His eyes flickered as they adjusted to the light. They darted around the room and at us, taking everything in. [1 word redacted] studied his face. One of his eyes was a cloudy green from an infection. He had cuts and dried blood on his face. His hair was long, curly, and messy. [1 word redacted] understood why the source hadn’t recognized him. [1 word redacted] judged that he was around [1 word redacted] age, thirty-two.

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[1 word redacted] were speaking in Arabic, and he apparently assumed that [1 word redacted] were either Arab or Israeli intelligence agents. His image of FBI officials was of white-skinned tough guys, not native Arabic speakers. [3 words redacted] took out our FBI credentials and showed them to him. Again his face registered surprise.

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As the information related to an attack in the works was naturally time sensitive, [1 word redacted] took a quick break from Abu Zubaydah and put everything he told [1 word redacted] into a cable while the medical team attended to his wounds and evaluated his condition. All cable traffic from the safe house went through CIA channels to headquarters in Langley. There the information was quickly verified, and the director of the CIA, George Tenet, was briefed. The attack was thwarted based on the information [1 word redacted] gained.

People seated around the table at the meeting in which Tenet was briefed later told [1 word redacted] that he registered obvious surprise [3 words redacted] Abu Zubaydah was cooperating. The CIA had commissioned a report in December 2001 from two psychologists who argued that an approach that used cruelty and humiliation to subdue terrorists would be needed to make high-value detainees talk, and that the process took time.

Tenet instructed his aides to send his congratulations to the [1 word redacted] CIA officers doing the interrogation. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. The briefers told him that it was actually [1 word redacted] FBI agents who had gained the information. He was furious and angrily slammed his hand on the table. “Why isn’t the CTC running the interrogation?” he demanded. He was told that they hadn’t believed that it was Abu Zubaydah who’d been captured. “Get them there now and have them take over,” he ordered.

After filing [1 word redacted] report, [1 word redacted] returned to Abu Zubaydah. [1 word redacted] took his fingerprints and a DNA sample—standard procedure—and recorded his voice, because of the CTC’s initial conclusion that the suspect really wasn’t Abu Zubaydah. The voice sample would be sent to other sources for verification.

[1 word redacted] knew a great deal about Abu Zubaydah before his capture, and during [1 word redacted] interrogation [5 words redacted]. A Palestinian, Abu Zubaydah was born in 1971 in Saudi Arabia, where his father held a teaching position. He grew up as a typical middle-class Palestinian expat there, and he even went on a high school trip to the United States. He also studied in India and married an Indian woman. He said that she was obsessed with “sex, sex, too much sex,” and he ended the marriage when he left India. Later he was swayed, like so many other top mujahideen, by the fiery speeches on jihad of another Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, and resolved to wage war on the Russians. He traveled to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet-backed Najibullah regime (1989–1992).

During a battle, he was hit in the head by shrapnel. The shrapnel wiped out his memory. He didn’t even know who he was. He was rushed to a hospital for treatment, and it was judged too dangerous to remove the shrapnel. To this day, he has a hole in his head.

After treatment, he was taken for therapy to a guesthouse in Peshawar. He was shown his passport. As was standard for mujahideen, it had been stored with an emir at a safe house while Abu Zubaydah had been fighting on the front. To help him with his therapy, everyone in the guesthouse would tell him, “Your name is Abu Zubaydah.” This is why he was one of the few terrorists who operated under his actual name rather than an alias.

In the guesthouse, as part of his therapy to try and piece together his past, Abu Zubaydah began keeping a diary that detailed his life, emotions, and what people were telling him. He split information into categories, such as what he knew about himself and what people told him about himself, and listed them under different names [6 words redacted] to distinguish one set from the other. When the diary was found, some analysts incorrectly interpreted the use of the different names as the symptom of multiple-personality disorder.

Even after Abu Zubaydah’s therapy was completed and he had left the guesthouse, he kept writing in his diary. [1 word redacted] later evaluated it, and it both provided us with new information and confirmed information he had given [1 word redacted]. The diary, for example, contained details of how, days before 9/11, he began preparing for counterattacks by the United States, working with al-Qaeda to buy weapons and prepare defensive lines in Afghanistan. Another entry, from 2002, details how he personally planned to wage jihad against the United States by instigating racial wars, and by attacking gas stations and fuel trucks and starting timed fires. He went into greater detail later in [1 word redacted] interrogation.

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Even before he told [1 word redacted] this, [1 word redacted] knew from previous investigations that Abu Zubaydah [11 words redacted]. But especially given that he reiterated this to [1 word redacted]—and [1 word redacted] dutifully wrote it up and sent it in cables to Langley—it was very surprising to see him publicly described by Bush administration officials as being a senior al-Qaeda member, and even the terrorist group’s number three or four in command.

Bush administration officials kept insisting that Abu Zubaydah was a member of al-Qaeda, and they inflated his importance, not only publicly but in classified memos. A now declassified May 30, 2005, memo from the principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department, Steven G. Bradbury, to John A. Rizzo, then the senior deputy general counsel of the CIA, states that, according to what the Justice Department had been told by the CIA, prior to his capture Abu Zubaydah was “one of Usama Bin Laden’s key lieutenants,” al-Qaeda’s third or fourth highest-ranking member, and that he had been involved “in every major terrorist operation carried out by al-Qaeda.” (This memo and other, related memos, issued from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, have since come to be known as the “OLC Memos.”) None of this was true; nor should it have ever been believed. It was not until the Obama administration was in office that U.S. officials stopped calling him a senior al-Qaeda member.

     

 

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