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PART 6

 

THE FIRST HIGH-VALUE DETAINEE

20

 

Abu Zubaydah

 

March 29, 2002. [1 word redacted] was in the middle of packing [1 word redacted] suitcase in [1 word redacted] New York City apartment, preparing to take a long-awaited vacation and spend Easter with family in Pennsylvania, when [1 word redacted] cell phone, house phone, and pager all rang consecutively. It was [1 word redacted] assistant special agent in charge, Kenny Maxwell, calling from the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, ordering [1 word redacted] to travel to a private airstrip at Dulles Airport, outside Washington, DC, for a special mission. Abu Zubaydah, America’s first high-value detainee since 9/11, had been captured the night before. [1 word redacted] was to help interrogate him.

The FBI had been looking for Abu Zubaydah for a while. He was originally wanted for his connection both to Ahmed Ressam’s attempt to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999 and to the millennium plot in Jordan. Abu Zubaydah’s name had come up with increasing frequency in intelligence reports after the millennium plot. While he was not a member of al-Qaeda, his role as external emir of Khaldan was of considerable importance. Senior al-Qaeda members, such as Khallad, regularly turned to Abu Zubaydah for help with passports and travel. In turn, al-Qaeda guaranteed Abu Zubaydah’s protection elsewhere in Afghanistan, and he often stayed in their guesthouses. He was one of the most important cogs in the shadowy network that we were struggling to disrupt.

[1 word redacted] emptied [1 word redacted] suitcase and packed a duffel bag. Ten minutes later [1 word redacted] was in a cab heading to LaGuardia Airport. In Washington, acting FBI deputy assistant director Charles Frahm met [1 word redacted] to drive [1 word redacted] to Dulles. With him was [2 words redacted], [1 word redacted] former colleague from the New York office, who had just been assigned to headquarters.

On the way to Dulles, Frahm, who at the time was seconded, or assigned, to the CIA, told [1 word redacted] that Abu Zubaydah had been captured the night before in a gunfight in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He had been tracked down after the FBI helped trace one of his calls to an apartment building after monitoring his communications. The FBI worked with the CIA and Pakistani [2 words redacted] to raid the building.

After the gun battle, the occupants of the apartment surrendered or were overwhelmed and subdued. All were taken in for questioning. Abu Zubaydah was not recognizable at first. He had been shot in the thigh, groin, and stomach while trying to escape by jumping from the roof of one apartment building to another, and his wounds were serious. In addition, he had altered his appearance in an effort to conceal his identity. Before, he had looked like a businessman, with a carefully trimmed beard, glasses, and relatively short hair. Now his beard had been shaved off and his hair had grown long and straggly; he was taken for a low-level terrorist. Soon, however, the FBI and CIA teams on the ground saw through his disguise, and he was separated from the other prisoners. A decision was made by the CIA to fly him to another country—its name is classified—where he would be interrogated at a secure location.

The FBI case agent responsible for the monitoring of Abu Zubaydah was Craig Donnachie. [1 word redacted] knew Craig well. He was assigned to the JTTF in New York and was knowledgeable about Abu Zubaydah. [1 word redacted] had worked together on previous I-49 cases, and initially FBI headquarters had decided that Craig and [1 word redacted] would be partners on this mission. In the car, however, Frahm told [1 word redacted] that Craig wouldn’t be joining [1 word redacted], as they couldn’t get in contact with him. (It turned out that he was on a train back to New York to spend Easter with his family.) Instead, [2 words redacted] would come.

Frahm told [1 word redacted] that [1 word redacted] orders were to assist the CIA team, and that [1 word redacted] were being brought in to help because of [1 word redacted] knowledge of Abu Zubaydah. He told [1 word redacted], more than once, that it was to be a CIA-led intelligence-gathering operation and that [1 word redacted] were there to support them as needed. [2 words redacted] not to read the Miranda warning or worry about the admissibility of evidence in court. [2 words redacted] to stay as long as the CIA needed [1 word redacted].

At Dulles [2 words redacted] joined by two medical personnel contracted by the agency, a doctor and an anesthesiologist, who were to help care for Abu Zubaydah. As the anesthesiologist had never worked with the CIA before, an agency officer took him into a telephone booth at the terminal to explain, and have him sign, a confidentiality agreement. Also with them was a cadet who had been pulled out of the new CIA officers’ class and assigned to the mission because he had training as a medic. He was to assist the doctor and the anesthesiologist in that capacity. [1 word redacted] boarded a plane chartered by the CIA and took off. After a lengthy journey [1 word redacted] arrived at [1 word redacted] destination.

[2 words redacted] met by officers from the local CIA station who took [1 word redacted] to a small plane. [1 word redacted] flew to the safe house where Abu Zubaydah would be held. Local CIA officers warmly welcomed [1 word redacted]. As Abu Zubaydah was to be arriving shortly, [1 word redacted] set about cleaning and preparing the facility for his arrival, setting up a makeshift hospital room for him. [1 word redacted] also tried to make the place hygienic for the rest of [1 word redacted] to use. It was a very primitive location. One day [1 word redacted] walked into the bathroom and saw a [1 word redacted] curled up in the corner, head raised and hissing at [1 word redacted] ran out and called a guard who was assigned to provide perimeter security. He found a V-shaped branch on the ground and caught the snake, then took it out of the bathroom. This was not an uncommon problem.

[1 word redacted] had been told that the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, tasked with conducting interrogations on behalf of the agency, had decided not to send a team to join [1 word redacted]. They didn’t believe it was actually Abu Zubaydah who had been captured. Others in the CIA did, which is why he was flown to a CIA safe house, and why [1 word redacted] were flown to meet him. ([1 word redacted] later discovered that the CTC team was supposed to have been on the plane with [1 word redacted].) The CTC was now being run by Alvin, the chief of operations who had made mistakes in Amman during the millennium investigation.

[1 word redacted] later found out that the CTC’s confusion stemmed from our anonymous source in Afghanistan, who had told them that the man captured was not Abu Zubaydah. They had shown the source a picture of the captured man. While usually reliable, the source was not skilled at identifying people in photos. Photographs were foreign to him, as he had grown up under the Taliban, of whose members there were no pictures. And he certainly couldn’t recognize a beardless Abu Zubaydah. Confident in the source, the CTC didn’t want to waste their time by coming. [1 word redacted], and others at the CIA, trusted the positive identification of Abu Zubaydah by the arresting team on the ground in Faisalabad.

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.

[8 words redacted]

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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.

[12 words redacted]

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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.

[65 words redacted]

[79 words redacted]

[103 words redacted]

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.

When Abu Zubaydah was much later interviewed by the Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he was shown a picture of Abu Hafs al-Masri. He put his hand on the photo, slid it back to the interrogator, and said: “Now this is the number three in al-Qaeda.” [40 words redacted]

As [1 word redacted] interrogated Abu Zubaydah, [1 word redacted] were simultaneously fighting to keep him alive. He was in terrible shape. The bullet that had hit him in his left thigh had shattered coins in his pocket. Some of this freak shrapnel entered his abdomen. [1 word redacted] had to take breaks during the interrogation as the medics opened his wounds and cleaned them to prevent infection. He couldn’t eat, drink, or even clean up after himself. As [1 word redacted] interrogated him, [1 word redacted] placed blocks of ice on his lips to give him some liquid, and [1 word redacted] cleaned him up after he soiled himself.

Abu Zubaydah knew that his situation was dire. [56 words redacted] were in a strange situation: [1 word redacted] were fighting to keep alive a terrorist dedicated to killing Americans. But [1 word redacted] needed to get information from him, and he was of no use to [1 word redacted] dead.

That first evening, after Abu Zubaydah fell asleep and [1 word redacted] filed our cables to Langley, everyone went to a nearby hotel to sleep. [1 word redacted] decided to stay at the safe house with Abu Zubaydah in case he woke up and had something to say. [1 word redacted] set up in a cot in the room next door to him. [1 word redacted] spent much of the night reviewing what [1 word redacted] knew about Abu Zubaydah and other terrorists who were in his network, along with the information he had given [1 word redacted] that day, in preparation for the next day’s interrogation.

As [1 word redacted] was drawing up an interrogation plan, at around 3:00 AM, the CIA medic tending to Abu Zubaydah came to my room. “Hey, Ali, how important is this guy?” he casually asked. He knew nothing about Abu Zubaydah and was only at the location because of his medical skills.

“He’s pretty important,” [1 word redacted] replied.

“Does he know a lot of stuff?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“Well, if you want anything from him you’d better go and interview him now.”

“Why? What are you talking about?”

“In the morning I don’t think he’ll be alive. He’s septic.” All this the medic said in a matter-of-fact tone.

[1 word redacted] called the hotel where [1 word redacted], the medical team, and some local CIA officials were staying and woke them up. When they arrived twenty minutes later [1 word redacted] repeated what the medic had told [1 word redacted]. The doctor evaluated Abu Zubaydah and concurred: “If we don’t do something, he will be dead by morning.”

[1 word redacted] first problem was that [1 word redacted] didn’t have the necessary medical equipment at the safe house to treat Abu Zubaydah. A proper hospital was [1 word redacted] only chance of keeping him alive. The second problem was that [1 word redacted] were FBI agents and CIA officers; [1 word redacted] presence in this country was supposed to be a secret. If that information slipped out, it would alert other terrorists to where Abu Zubaydah was being held, and it would probably cause problems for our host country, too.

The CIA chief of base cabled Langley, explaining our situation and asking for guidance. A cable came straight back: “Death is not an option.” That was clearance to do whatever it took to keep Abu Zubaydah alive. His [1 word redacted] cooperation and clear intelligence value saved his life. [1 word redacted] challenge was how to get him to a local hospital without attracting notice.

The chief of security at the local station, Allen, came up with a plan: [1 word redacted] would [61 words redacted]

On the way to the hospital Abu Zubaydah’s condition deteriorated even further. [1 word redacted], Allen, and [1 word redacted] sat in the back of the ambulance with him and watched the doctors fight to keep him breathing. The anesthesiologist performed a tracheotomy by cutting a hole in his neck and putting a tube through it. [1 word redacted] took turns physically pumping air through the tube into his lungs. He was still alive as we pulled up outside the hospital. [1 word redacted] were nervous as [1 word redacted] pushed him through the hospital entrance on a stretcher. [1 word redacted] didn’t know if [1 word redacted] cover story would be accepted, and there was a good chance that Abu Zubaydah would die at any moment. People stared, no doubt trying to understand why all these soldiers were wheeling an injured and handcuffed fellow soldier through. [1 word redacted] spoke to the hospital staff, and Abu Zubaydah was rushed into the operating room. Minutes later, the doctors began surgery.

[1 word redacted] sat in the waiting room, watching television to pass the time. What if he dies? [1 word redacted] thought. If he’s alive, what should [1 word redacted] discuss next? These thoughts were only interrupted when a doctor came out and told [1 word redacted] that the operation had been a success.

A doctor from Johns Hopkins had been flown in by the CIA to evaluate Abu Zubaydah’s condition. He consulted with the surgeons, wrote a report, and left. [3 words redacted] stayed in Abu Zubaydah’s hospital room, waiting for him to regain consciousness. [1 word redacted] repeatedly asked the doctors and nurses tending to him and changing his bandages how long they thought it would be before he came to. Eventually he opened his eyes.

Abu Zubaydah later told [1 word redacted] that when he first opened his eyes, he saw that he was surrounded by women who were all covered up—nurses wearing uniforms and surgical masks—and thought perhaps that he was in heaven. The vision evaporated when he saw [3 words redacted] in [1 word redacted] military uniforms looking over him. He smiled as he said this.

As soon as he opened his eyes and it was clear he was lucid, [1 word redacted] gave him a stern lecture. “Don’t you try to make a scene,” [1 word redacted] warned him. “You just play along. [1 word redacted] doing this to save your life. If you play any games, you’re only endangering yourself.” Without delay, [3 words redacted] started asking him questions. [23 words redacted]

At the safe house [1 word redacted] had focused primarily on plots he was involved in [5 words redacted]. [1 word redacted] first priority was to stop any plots in the works. In the hospital [1 word redacted] goal in the first session was to get more details on pending threats and to see what information he could give [1 word redacted] on bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s senior leadership. That’s where [1 word redacted] steered the conversation.

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After Abu Zubaydah described that interaction, [97 words redacted]

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[39 words redacted] asked [1 word redacted] to get me a picture of him, to double-check that Abu Zubaydah was talking about the same person.

[1 word redacted] didn’t have any of [1 word redacted] FBI photo-books with [1 word redacted], because [1 word redacted] were only meant to be supporting the CIA and hadn’t brought [1 word redacted] own interrogation materials. So [1 word redacted] downloaded on his Sony device, similar to a Palm Pilot, the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. The list, published for the first time after the attacks of September 11, 2001, contained the names of twenty-two terrorists indicted by grand juries for terrorist crimes. [13 words redacted]

[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]

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[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]

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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?”

“Who?”

“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]

[82 words redacted] While he was an important facilitator, he did not attract recruits or have his own following.

Abu Zubaydah went on to explain [86 words redacted]

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[6 words redacted] Mozzam Begg, the Pakistani from the UK. Begg had trained in camps in Afghanistan. [26 words redacted]. [1 word redacted] was familiar with Begg from counterterrorism operations in the UK: how he had been picked up in Britain in the summer of 2001 by MI5 and SO12, his store raided, his belongings searched. [1 word redacted] mentally reviewed the case: SO13 had not been briefed on the raid and was not prepared to build a terrorism case against him. Upon his release, Begg had fled to Kabul.

[49 words redacted] Begg today is a free man in Britain.

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Next: 21. The Contractors Take Over