Выбрать главу

[1 word redacted] repeatedly tapped on his device to zoom in and handed it to [1 word redacted] as it was still loading. [22 words redacted]

[7 words redacted]

[43 words redacted]

[18 words redacted]

[21 words redacted]

[14 words redacted]

[53 words redacted]

[37 words redacted]

[7 words redacted] recalled a video [1 word redacted] had found after 9/11 of bin Laden describing the plot and bragging about his expertise in putting it together. A couple of times in the clip, he looks at an individual who is either videotaping or next to the person videotaping, and gestures toward him, saying, “Mokhtar.” He even gives him some credit for the attacks.

Later in the same video clip, talking about a dream someone had had about 9/11, bin Laden says: “And in the same dream he saw Mokhtar teaching them karate.” At the end of the tape, al-Qaeda members surround a U.S. helicopter that had been shot down in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. The terrorists are taking pictures of the wreckage, and some can be heard saying, “Hey, Mokhtar, come see this.” From this [1 word redacted] knew that Mokhtar was important; but [1 word redacted] didn’t know who he was. It was tremendously frustrating for the U.S. intelligence community. Mokhtar can mean “mayor,” and it can also mean “the chosen.” Either way, it is a name that denotes respect.

At the same time, the intelligence community had been hearing chatter traffic about “the man whose brain flew away”—Le moch tar in Arabic. Some analysts thought that the phrase stood for bin Laden, but my suspicion, based on the chatter traffic, was that it was another way for operatives to refer to Mokhtar, deepening his cover. Now, from Abu Zubaydah, [1 word redacted] finally had an answer to the riddle. KSM was Mokhtar! [1 word redacted] had no idea.

KSM was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for his role in the Bojinka plot with his nephew Ramzi Yousef. The U.S. intelligence community until now had had no idea that KSM was even a member of al-Qaeda (he was believed to be an independent terrorist), let alone the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. [1 word redacted] had to be careful, as [1 word redacted] didn’t want Abu Zubaydah to know that this was a big breakthrough for [1 word redacted]. A key to a successful interrogation is to never let the suspect know that he is giving you information you didn’t know. That only lessens the chances of his giving you more information, as he realizes he’s said too much. But [1 word redacted] also had to let [1 word redacted] know what had happened.

[1 word redacted] realized from the tone of the conversation that something was going on, but as he didn’t speak fluent Arabic—he only knew a few words—he didn’t know the details. [1 word redacted] turned to him and said: “[1 word redacted], what’s up? You showed me the wrong picture.” As I handed him his electronic device, [1 word redacted] pointed at the picture of KSM on his screen. As [1 word redacted] took the device, [6 words redacted] in an effort to maintain the pace of the interrogation.

[58 words redacted] It worked.

[12 words redacted]

[12 words redacted]

During this exchange [1 word redacted] walked out of the room with Allen, who had been observing the interrogation. [1 word redacted] had grown close to Allen since [1 word redacted] had arrived, and [1 word redacted] liked him. His expertise was not in Middle Eastern terrorists, so the photo of KSM meant nothing to him. [1 word redacted] took him outside to explain what had just happened.

[1 word redacted] pressed on with Abu Zubaydah. [11 words redacted] Again [1 word redacted] was going with my instinct. [1 word redacted] didn’t know that they were friends, but [1 word redacted] guessed that, given Abu Zubaydah’s knowledge of KSM’s role in 9/11, they must be—and again [1 word redacted] wanted to make Abu Zubaydah think that [1 word redacted] knew all about their relationship.

[11 words redacted]

[15 words redacted]

[90 words redacted]

[54 words redacted]

[32 words redacted]

[11 words redacted]

[21 words redacted]

[71 words redacted]

[75 words redacted]

[41 words redacted]

When [1 word redacted] finished talking with Abu Zubaydah [2 words redacted], [1 word redacted] said, “Now let’s go back to [1 word redacted].” This time, [1 word redacted] zoomed in on the correct picture, and [5 words redacted]. He gave [1 word redacted] more details on plots [1 word redacted] was involved in, [11 words redacted]. The information led to the thwarting of the attack.

Abu Zubaydah’s [6 words redacted] was celebrated as a major breakthrough in Washington.

[1 word redacted] did not have a secure line at the hospital, so [1 word redacted] waited few days until [1 word redacted] was back at the safe house to call Kenny Maxwell, head of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, under whose remit KSM fell. The JTTF was also spearheading major parts of the 9/11 investigation, so this information was an important part of the puzzle they were piecing together. I was eager to find out what they thought of the news, and wanted any ideas they could send [1 word redacted] way.

“Kenny, what do you think of the news?”

“What news?” He sounded puzzled.

“Kenny,” [1 word redacted] said slowly, “do you know who did 9/11?”


“The guy Frank Pellegrino is working on,” [1 word redacted] told him. Frank was the FBI case agent for KSM.

“Who?” Kenny asked again.

“The guy from Manila Air,” [1 word redacted] told him, using another name for the Bojinka plot.

“You’re shitting me.” Kenny was stunned. “He isn’t even a member of al-Qaeda,” he added.

“Think again,” [1 word redacted] said. [1 word redacted] couldn’t believe that the JTTF hadn’t been given the news. [1 word redacted] told Kenny to get the information [1 word redacted] had sent to Langley so that JTTF agents like Frank could act on it and send [1 word redacted] any questions they had.

When [1 word redacted] eventually returned to New York, [1 word redacted] found out that little of the information [1 word redacted] had cabled daily had ever reached the JTTF.

Over the next few days in the hospital [1 word redacted] interrogated Abu Zubaydah every moment [1 word redacted] could, [18 words redacted]. [1 word redacted] paused [1 word redacted] when he had to sleep or when doctors treated him. At times he underwent tests. When he needed an MRI and his body was found to be too big for the machine, [3 words redacted] had to squeeze him into the hole.

One conversation [1 word redacted] had with Abu Zubaydah [56 words redacted]

After 9/11, with the news that America was preparing to invade Afghanistan, and as the Northern Alliance pushed forward against Taliban positions, [44 words redacted]

[48 words redacted] intended to ask him about it later, but we had more important things to focus on first.

During the times in the hospital when Abu Zubaydah slept, [1 word redacted] went through his phone book, diary, and other personal effects, removed from the apartment building upon his capture in Faisalabad. The items had been found in his briefcase. It all helped give [1 word redacted] a fuller understanding of his links to the terrorist network across the world, and helped [1 word redacted] prepare for [1 word redacted] interrogation sessions. Also found was a videotape in which he urged everyone to rally behind bin Laden as the leader of the mujahideen in Afghanistan. In the video, Abu Zubaydah says: “We and the sheikh are one. We have been working together for almost ten years, but we were hoping to keep this work secret… hidden.” [16 words redacted]