Book: 0393079422.(N)

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24

 

45 Minutes

 

Mid-September 2002. “How did you get this information?” Samantha, the head of the CIA’s high-value target (HVT) unit, was standing in the doorway of the office [1 word redacted] was using at a CIA safe house in Kabul. She was waving a cable [1 word redacted] had asked the chief of station to send to FBI headquarters. Samantha had been assigned to the CIA[3 words redacted] station before the 9/11 attacks, so we kind of knew each other.

“From the [1 word redacted] al-Qaeda guys you let [1 word redacted] interrogate,” [1 word redacted] replied, referring to a group of terrorists captured in a September 11, 2002, raid on apartments in Karachi that had also, and more importantly, netted Ramzi Binalshibh and [1 word redacted]. The CIA had let [1 word redacted] and [1 word redacted] FBI colleagues [2 words redacted] and [2 words redacted] question the [1 word redacted], but had barred [1 word redacted]—on orders from Langley—from interrogating Binalshibh and [1 word redacted].

The Pakistani authorities had found the group based mainly on intelligence an FBI colleague got from the Saudi al-Qaeda operative Ahmed al-Darbi, whom he had interrogated at Bagram Airfield. We had learned about Darbi from his father-in-law, Ahmed al-Hada, and from Abu Jandal. Following the raid, the FBI had identified the terrorists, photographed them, and searched the apartments for evidence. One of the raids had resulted in a bloody gun battle, in which a number of al-Qaeda operatives were killed. In the apartment where Binalshibh and [1 word redacted] were found there was a standoff, Binalshibh holding a knife to his own throat.

“If any of you step any closer,” Binalshibh had declared, “I’m going to slit my own throat.” He apparently didn’t realize that in a hostage situation you need a hostage other than yourself, and that the Pakistanis were happy to take him dead or alive. There was no way they’d let him escape. He was soon subdued, and after the detainees were processed by an FBI team in Karachi, they were handed over to the CIA, by order of the Bush administration.

“Very impressive,” Samantha said, referring to the memo we had written based on intelligence the [1 word redacted] terrorists had given [1 word redacted]. “This is some of the best intelligence I’ve read in a while. That’s amazing that they gave it to you.”

With that she was gone. [1 word redacted], who was in the office with [1 word redacted], whispered, “Think they’ll now realize they are being stupid not letting us have access to the other two?”

“Let’s hope so,” [1 word redacted] replied.

A few hours later Samantha again appeared in the doorway. “Can we talk?” she asked.

“Sure.” [1 word redacted] followed her into the hallway. “What’s going on?”

“As you know, we’re not allowed to give you access to Binalshibh and [1 word redacted],” she said, “because they want them to be interrogated by ———.” She named two foreign countries—the names of which are classified—and then her voice trailed off. From her facial expression [1 word redacted] could tell that she disagreed with the policy of barring [1 word redacted] from interrogating them, and that she wanted [1 word redacted] opinion.

“That’s pathetic,” [1 word redacted] told her. “Why have other countries do the interrogating, when we have people who can do the job better?”

“And they have American blood on their hands. I don’t want them to do our job. I know we can do it here, and we can do it right.”

“I agree completely. So do you have a plan to give us access?”

“I do. I’m going to go against the instructions I’ve been given from Washington, and I’m going to give you access to them for forty-five minutes each, and we’ll see what happens. If they cooperate, then maybe the whole idea of rendition will be scrapped and we can continue interrogating them here.”

“Sounds good, but did you say I can only have forty-five minutes with them?”

“Yes, forty-five minutes.”

“Okay, I’ll take what I can get.”

September 11, 2002. “Hi, Ali, welcome back.” Kevin Donovan, now the assistant director in charge of the New York office, had spotted me on the street outside the JTTF’s New York office.

“Thank you, it’s good to be home,” I replied. I had just returned to New York from working with the fusion cell in Yemen.

“We’re going down to ground zero,” Kevin said, “and I’d like you and Steve Bongardt to carry the FBI wreath to the memorial.”

“But there are others better suited than us.”

“No, it would be an honor for the FBI to have you and Steve do this.” Steve and I had been trying to get the CIA to share information with us before 9/11 that could have stopped the attacks, so I understood why Kevin wanted us to carry the wreath—the act would be symbolic.

As Steve and I walked, holding the wreath, I couldn’t hold back my tears. The history of what had happened kept swirling around in my mind.

I felt almost physically unable to look at the site where thousands of Americans had died, in an attack that in my heart I knew we could have stopped. At one point I passed a picture of John O’Neill, and as I looked at John’s face I felt a sharp pain in my chest. We laid the wreath at the memorial for law enforcement personnel who had died in the attacks.

After the walk, I returned to my office. Others were going to a nearby bar, but I was too emotional to deal with other people. As I sat at my desk, reliving what had happened a year earlier and trying to work, my phone rang. It was FBI headquarters in Washington telling me that Ramzi Binalshibh and [1 word redacted] had been captured, [16 words redacted]

[1 word redacted] flew to Washington, DC, where [1 word redacted] met [1 word redacted] and [1 word redacted] and another FBI agent, [2 words redacted], who would help with our security, and we got on a private plane chartered by the CIA and flew to Islamabad. CIA officers met us on the tarmac, and one, an older man, came up to me and asked, “Are you [2 words redacted]?”

“Yes,” [1 word redacted] replied, “I am.”

He stuck out his hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you. I look forward to seeing you in action.”

“Thank you. We’ll see how it goes.”

A few hours later [1 word redacted] took a small cargo plane from Islamabad to Karachi, and a new group of CIA officials flew with us. While the officials on the plane from DC and at the airport in Karachi were friendly, on this plane [1 word redacted] were ignored. [1 word redacted] recognized some of them, including Fred, the CIA official who had caused problems in Jordan during the millennium investigation and who had threatened Ibn al-Shaykh al-Liby, ruining that interrogation. It was a bad sign that he was involved.

In Karachi [1 word redacted] were met by [1 word redacted] CIA officers and Pakistani special forces who were holding the detainees. The [1 word redacted] terrorists, who were all blindfolded and handcuffed, were one by one taken from a building on the side of the runway onto [1 word redacted] cargo plane.

One of the [1 word redacted] CIA officers pointed at a detainee, identifying him as [1 word redacted]; he didn’t really look like his brother, whom [1 word redacted] had interrogated in Yemen. The officer said to me: “That one is a troublemaker. He’s very arrogant. He’s even telling the others that they’ll open an Islamic school in Guantánamo.”

Once the prisoners were loaded onto the plane, [1 word redacted] flew to [1 word redacted], and there [1 word redacted] met other CIA officials, including Samantha, from the HVT unit. The sun had set and [1 word redacted] was dark, and we boarded 4x4 jeeps and headed into the darkness. [1 word redacted] was in the same vehicle as Samantha, and at first sat silently as [1 word redacted] drove out of the city, watching as [1 word redacted] passed remnants of [3 words redacted] and other military equipment, which the [1 word redacted] had deliberately left as symbols of their victory against a superpower.

“Where are we going?” [1 word redacted] asked Samantha after a few minutes.

“There’s a detention facility outside the city that we use to question terrorists,” she replied.

[1 word redacted] were waved through the detention facility’s gate by [3 words redacted], who appeared to be in control of the place. The detainees were taken to cells, and [1 word redacted] were instructed to sit in a waiting area.

[1 word redacted] were eager to start interrogating the suspects. [1 word redacted] and [1 word redacted]had both been assigned to 9/11 investigations and had been trailing Binalshibh [3 words redacted], and [1 word redacted] was very familiar with [1 word redacted] and [1 word redacted] entire family. “If we are lucky,” [1 word redacted] said, “these guys might lead us to Khallad and even to bin Laden.”

[1 word redacted] had waited for about an hour when a CIA official came up to [1 word redacted] and said: “You guys can interview the [1 word redacted], but not Binalshibh or [1 word redacted].”

“Excuse me?” [1 word redacted] asked. “Why not?”

“We received specific instructions from Washington that the FBI agents are not authorized to speak to the two main subjects. I’m sorry.” Later, [1 word redacted] learned that a cable from the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center had ordered: “FBI Agent [2 words redacted] is not, repeat NOT, to have access.” The CTC was angry with [1 word redacted] for my stark disagreement with them over the Abu Zubaydah [1 word redacted].

“You guys flew us on a plane all the way from the United States just to tell us we can’t actually interrogate the two main suspects?” [1 word redacted] asked.

“That’s the rule. You can have those [1 word redacted] or nothing, your choice.”

“We’ll take the [1 word redacted], but please reconsider.”

[1 word redacted] and [1 word redacted] called FBI headquarters to see if they knew about any of this. They didn’t, and were just as annoyed and confused as [1 word redacted]were.

This wasn’t the first time [1 word redacted] had had conflicting messages from the CIA. It’s a big agency, and within it there were some officials who had opposed the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, siding with [1 word redacted] on the issue of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation. They were the individuals who wanted [1 word redacted] to interrogate these detainees. Others, notably the CTC, which had brought in the contractors and the enhanced interrogation techniques, didn’t want [1 word redacted] involved.

Divisions in the CIA were also seen before [1 word redacted] got to the Abu Zubaydah interrogation; the CTC, after all, hadn’t bothered to show up originally, because according to their intelligence reporting, he wasn’t actually Abu Zubaydah. Unfortunately for the CIA, those supporting the EITs seemed to have the final word—and the others were forced to go to the CIA’s inspector general to register their complaints.

[1 word redacted] began interrogating [1 word redacted] and soon gained valuable intelligence: on the movement of al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, their escape routes, and the smugglers who transport them into Pakistan and Iran. The [1 word redacted] were surprised by what [1 word redacted] already knew about the al-Qaeda network, the various operatives, the structure, and about their native country, Yemen—and this helped convince them to cooperate with [1 word redacted].

They told [1 word redacted] about safe houses al-Qaeda used on both sides of Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan and Iran, and they detailed how operatives were smuggled from [2 words redacted] and elsewhere in Iran to [1 word redacted], Yemen, and other countries in the Arabian Peninsula.

[1 word redacted] were naturally interested in ongoing operations, and they told [1 word redacted] what they had been involved in before they were picked up. One detainee mentioned an al-Qaeda operative [3 words redacted], who was putting together a cell to conduct “attacks in the Peninsula.” Based on his name, [1 word redacted] thought he was a Yemeni, [8 words redacted]

[13 words redacted]

[18 words redacted]

[10 words redacted]

[7 words redacted]

[8 words redacted] replied, looking him straight in the eye. [78 words redacted] As [1 word redacted] finished speaking, [1 word redacted] put my hand gently on his shoulder.

He looked down for a few seconds, and then looked up at [50 words redacted]

Later that night, CIA officials told [5 words redacted] that they would come back and pick us up in a few hours. They never came, so [1 word redacted] ended up falling asleep in a room that had red carpet all over the floor and walls. At night guards patrolled the base, and [1 word redacted] were given to under-stand that unless we gave them the right password, [1 word redacted] would be shot.

An [2 words redacted] told us the password—it was in [1 word redacted], the language the [3 words redacted] spoke—and [1 word redacted] wrote it on [1 word redacted] hands and went to sleep. In the middle of the night [1 word redacted] woke up and had just stepped out to the toilet when [1 word redacted] heard a guard shouting at [1 word redacted].

He was speaking [1 word redacted], which made no sense to [1 word redacted], and because [1 word redacted] was half asleep, it took [1 word redacted] a few seconds to realize that he wanted the password. [1 word redacted] tried to read [1 word redacted] hand and shouted out the word, trying a few different pronunciations, and on the fourth or fifth attempt he signaled to [1 word redacted] to pass.

Early the next morning, a few minutes after daybreak, [1 word redacted] was awakened by [1 word redacted] whispering a single sentence in my ear, over and over: “[1 word redacted], wake up, but don’t move; [1 word redacted], wake up, but don’t move.” [1 word redacted] opened one eye and looked at [1 word redacted], who was lying next to [1 word redacted]. He appeared to be asleep—he wasn’t moving, and his eyes were half closed—and [1 word redacted] saw that his fingers were wrapped around his handgun.

“Look,” he said, gesturing with his eyes toward the entrance to the room, “look at those guys watching us.” Out of the corner of [1 word redacted] eye [1 word redacted] saw two [1 word redacted] crouched by the door, staring at [1 word redacted]. [1 word redacted] woke up [3 words redacted] in the same manner that [1 word redacted] had woken [1 word redacted], whispering and instructing them not to move. None of [1 word redacted] spoke [1 word redacted], and [1 word redacted] weren’t sure what to do.

After a few minutes [1 word redacted] decided to break the deadlock, and [1 word redacted] pretended to wake up. [1 word redacted] stretched and slowly stood up, and then turned to the two [1 word redacted] and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum.” Though Arabic, it was a phrase that all Muslims would be familiar with, and one of the [1 word redacted] gave [1 word redacted] a big smile and gestured for [1 word redacted] to follow him.

[1 word redacted] picked up [1 word redacted] gear and weapons and followed him cautiously out of [1 word redacted] room into another, where a man, who [1 word redacted] guessed was the commander, was sitting with breakfast laid out in front of him. He gestured to [1 word redacted] to sit down and, pointing to the food, said, “Eat.” That appeared to be the extent of his English, and he didn’t make any more of an effort to talk to [1 word redacted] after that.

There was tea, bread, and cheese, which [1 word redacted] would have enjoyed if it wasn’t already more than an hour after sunrise and the CIA still hadn’t showed up—despite having assured [1 word redacted] that they would pick [1 word redacted] up last night.

[1 word redacted] knew that the situation in [1 word redacted] was complicated, with tribes regularly switching alliances, so [1 word redacted] began to fear that [1 word redacted] might now really be captives and used as bargaining chips.

After returning to our room, [1 word redacted] took a walk around the base, and spotted an [2 words redacted] jeep with a big picture of [11 words redacted] on the windscreen. As [1 word redacted] stood around the jeep, [1 word redacted] told the others: “Something is wrong, and for whatever reason the CIA are not showing up to pick us up. Either we stay here and wait and see what happens, or we borrow this jeep and head to [1 word redacted].”

The others agreed that [1 word redacted] should take the jeep. [1 word redacted] had no GPS and little idea how to get to [1 word redacted], but staying seemed too risky. [1 word redacted] signaled to the [1 word redacted], who had been watching [1 word redacted], that [1 word redacted] just wanted to take the jeep for a ride around the area, which [1 word redacted] explained by making a driving motion with [1 word redacted] arms, and then a circle motion with [1 word redacted] fingers. They smiled and nodded.

“Do you know how to drive [9 words redacted] asked. [8 words redacted]

“Do you see any roads around here to drive on?” [1 word redacted] asked, and everyone laughed. There were just dirt paths and barren terrain all around.

Using our memory of how [1 word redacted] had arrived at the base, [1 word redacted] tried to navigate [1 word redacted] way back. [1 word redacted] passed lots of [2 words redacted] jeeps and tanks and had to drive around a huge crater clearly made by a big bomb. By what we could only attribute to the grace of God [1 word redacted] found [1 word redacted] way back to [1 word redacted] and made [1 word redacted] way to the local CIA base was. When the officials saw [1 word redacted], their faces turned white.

“What are you doing here? How did you get here?” one of them stammered.

“We borrowed a jeep,” [1 word redacted] replied.

“We were planning to get you—we just got busy with other things,” another one said lamely.

From then on [1 word redacted] used that jeep whenever [1 word redacted] needed to travel, not wishing to rely on local CIA officials and get stranded again. When [1 word redacted] returned to the United States, [1 word redacted] left the truck near the CIA safe house, and when [1 word redacted] returned a few months later it was still there—and [1 word redacted] used it again.

From the CIA safe house [1 word redacted] wrote up the intelligence [1 word redacted] had gained from the [1 word redacted] detainees and sent it through the CIA to FBI headquarters, as the CIA had insisted we only use their system to file any reports. That’s when Samantha came to see me.

The arrangement she proposed was that [1 word redacted] interview Binalshibh and [1 word redacted] without [3 words redacted] present. A CTC officer would be in the room. [4 words redacted] colleagues were in a better position to interview Binalshibh than [1 word redacted] was, since they had been following him.

“Why does that matter?” Samantha asked. “You know al-Qaeda.”

[3 words redacted] have the small details, and that’s what you use to show the detainees you know all about them, and how you catch them on any lies. [3 words redacted] know what questions to ask Binalshibh and what he should know. So either let them come in with me, or send them in instead, and I’ll do the [1 word redacted] interview.”

“I’m sorry but only you can go in. They can stay outside and watch on CCTV. If you need to run anything by them, they will be there.” Since we had been using CCTV at Gitmo, [1 word redacted] thought it might work, and as [1 word redacted] had no choice anyway, [1 word redacted] accepted.

“Okay,” [1 word redacted] told Samantha, “let’s try that.”

[1 word redacted] went back to the detention facility, on the outskirts of the city, and while [1 word redacted] waited for the [1 word redacted] guards to bring Binalshibh into the interrogation room, [1 word redacted] discovered that the CCTV system had no audio. It meant that [3 words redacted] could watch what was going on but not hear anything.

The [1 word redacted] brought Binalshibh into the room, pushed him onto the floor, and handcuffed him to the wall. He looked exactly like the picture [1 word redacted] had of him on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, which was unusual, as terrorists rarely look exactly like the pictures [1 word redacted] have of them. Usually they’ve changed their appearance to disguise their identities, or they try to appear serious in pictures. The pictures of Abu Jandal, for example, show an unsmiling, tough-looking character, but in person he’s full of smiles, once engaged.

[1 word redacted] shuddered inwardly as he walked in, because here was someone directly culpable for 9/11. While [1 word redacted] had interrogated more important al-Qaeda members, Binalshibh was the first directly involved in coordinating the death of so many Americans. But to succeed with him, [1 word redacted] needed to remain collected and in control of the situation, so [1 word redacted] calmly asked the [1 word redacted] to undo his handcuffs.

After the guards stepped out, [1 word redacted] briefly introduced [1 word redacted] and told him: “[42 words redacted]

[28 words redacted]

[10 words redacted]

Binalshibh had done an interview with al-Jazeera a few days earlier in which he proudly admitted his role in 9/11, providing a detailed account of the planning and execution phases of the plot. [45 words redacted]

[64 words redacted]

[4 words redacted]

[78 words redacted]

After he gave [1 word redacted] this information, [1 word redacted] took a break to brief [3 words redacted] and verify what Binalshibh had told [1 word redacted]. For the most part he was providing good information, but [3 words redacted] noticed minor discrepancies between what he was saying and evidence recovered by [1 word redacted] investigation. This meant that he was testing [1 word redacted] knowledge and practicing a classic counterinterrogation tactic.

On returning to the cell, [46 words redacted]

[7 words redacted]

[56 words redacted]

[47 words redacted]

[5 words redacted]

[37 words redacted]

[1 word redacted] continued our interrogation, and [1 word redacted] stepped out regularly and checked with [3 words redacted] to be sure that what Binalshibh was telling [1 word redacted] squared with what [1 word redacted] already knew. Not only were they able to tell [1 word redacted] whether or not he was telling the truth, but they were able to cite, without notes, evidence supporting their points, from faxes, timelines, and other information [1 word redacted] had. [1 word redacted] is a lawyer by training—he left law to follow his dream of being an FBI agent—and his training was evident. He paid close attention to detail. [1 word redacted] had similar skills, and [1 word redacted] was impressed with how the two of them could instantly catch Binalshibh in lies.

After forty-five minutes, the CIA officials told [1 word redacted] that our time was up, and they took Binalshibh away. [3 words redacted] called headquarters and reported the breakthrough [1 word redacted]’d had, and headquarters requested that [1 word redacted] write up the interview. As [3 words redacted] worked on that, [1 word redacted] prepared for the interrogation with the second HVT, [1 word redacted].

[1 word redacted] was naked when he was brought into the interrogation room, but he swaggered, with his chin held high; you might have thought he was dressed like a king and ruled the place. As an [1 word redacted] guard chained him to the wall, he sneered at [1 word redacted], spat on the floor to show his disgust, and uttered a series of insults.

[1 word redacted] ignored him, took off his chains, handed him a towel to cover himself, and sat down on the floor next to him. He looked away. [78 words redacted]

[41 words redacted]

[66 words redacted]

[26 words redacted]

[69 words redacted]

[62 words redacted]

[17 words redacted]

[27 words redacted]

[34 words redacted]

[62 words redacted]

[21 words redacted] knew that he had figured out who the person in the story was.

[13 words redacted]

[58 words redacted]

[52 words redacted]

[2 words redacted] had been in jail in Yemen since the [2 words redacted] incident. Even after the other al-Qaeda members arrested for the car thefts were freed, he had been held as a bargaining chip because of the family’s importance to bin Laden. [1 word redacted] hadn’t seen [2 words redacted] in many years.

[82 words redacted]

[56 words redacted]

[26 words redacted]

[52 words redacted]

[57 words redacted]

[109 words redacted]

[25 words redacted]

[27 words redacted]

[48 words redacted]

[8 words redacted]

[36 words redacted]

[5 words redacted]

[57 words redacted]

[1 word redacted] time with [1 word redacted] was up, and the [1 word redacted] guards took him away.

[1 word redacted] told [3 words redacted] what [1 word redacted] had told [1 word redacted], and [1 word redacted] wrote up the information and disseminated it through CIA channels. [1 word redacted] also called FBI headquarters on a secure phone and let them know what had happened.

“That’s the exact definition of actionable intelligence,” said Pat D’Amuro, [1 word redacted] boss. “If we act on it now, we should be able to stop the plot. And given your clear, undeniable success, they should give you more access to him and change their minds about rendition. I’m going to make sure everyone here is told the good news. Great work.”

[1 word redacted] were in a jubilant mood: [1 word redacted] had gained actionable intelligence with each of the high-value targets, demonstrating that there was no need to fly them to foreign countries to be tortured. [1 word redacted] waited in the office for instructions on how to proceed, with little doubt in [1 word redacted] mind [1 word redacted]’d be given access to the two of them again shortly.

About an hour after he spoke to headquarters, the CIA deputy chief of station stormed into our office. “Who the hell told the FBI HQ that these guys are cooperating?” he yelled at [1 word redacted].

“We did,” [1 word redacted] told him, “or, rather, we reported the facts of what happened in the interrogations. And there is clear, actionable intelligence. They cooperated, there’s plenty of evidence of that.”

“Don’t you understand that nobody can stop these guys from being sent to ———?” He mentioned the names of the still-classified countries.

“That doesn’t make sense. We got clear, actionable intelligence. There is no need to send them elsewhere. You’re making a big mistake by doing that.”

“This is bigger than you,” he yelled. “This is an order coming from the White House. There is nothing you or the FBI can do. You can’t stop this rendition.” He almost spat out those words, acting as if he viewed [1 word redacted] with complete disgust, and stormed back out.

[1 word redacted] reported the conversation to FBI headquarters, including the “this is bigger than you” line, which indicated that decisions had been made at the very top of the U.S. government.

First [1 word redacted] were told to stay put, as senior FBI officials tried to negotiate with the CIA and the White House to see if they’d at least agree to delay the rendition so [1 word redacted] could talk to both detainees a bit longer. [1 word redacted] were told about ongoing plots—ticking time bombs—and they were prepared to tell [1 word redacted] more. Information from them could lead [1 word redacted] to bin Laden. [1 word redacted] had established rapport with the detainees; it made no sense not to give [1 word redacted] access, at least for another couple of hours. Headquarters warned the White House that how they dealt with Binalshibh, especially now, would affect whether [1 word redacted]’d be able to prosecute him down the line.

The message came back: the decision had been made to fly them to the designated countries. They could have told [1 word redacted] bin Laden’s whereabouts and still been deemed uncooperative.

A few hours later [1 word redacted] received a phone call from headquarters. A frustrated Pat said that [1 word redacted] had lost the battle, and that the decision had been made exactly as the CIA deputy chief of base had told [1 word redacted]: they were denying that Binalshubh and [1 word redacted] had cooperated with [1 word redacted], and said [1 word redacted] were told lies.

[29 words redacted]

“The [1 word redacted] decision was made before you got to them,” a colleague later told [1 word redacted]. “The only reason they let you in for forty-five minutes was to cover their ass down the road. They didn’t expect you to have any success in so little time, so they thought they’d give you access, and then, when asked, they’d say they had tried everything, even giving one of the FBI’s top interrogators access, but the terrorists were not cooperating. But you messed up their plans, so they had to deny that you got intelligence.”

[1 word redacted] don’t believe this theory, and [1 word redacted] believe that Samantha, who had enabled [1 word redacted] to conduct the interrogations, was a good CIA officer. When [1 word redacted] worked at different locations, [1 word redacted] came across some top CIA officials who were professional and talented and did the right thing. [1 word redacted] believe Samantha fit into this category, and that she tried to do the right thing but ultimately failed because the steamroller was more powerful than anyone in the field.

Headquarters instructed [3 words redacted] to [1 word redacted] Binalshibh [2 words redacted] to see if they could get access to him again. [3 words redacted] were told to return to Yemen to work with the fusion cell on disrupting the plot that [1 word redacted] had told [1 word redacted] about. The problem for us was that, after 9/11, the CIA had control of operations the FBI conducted overseas. According to Langley, the threat of an oil tanker explosion didn’t exist: in their eyes, [1 word redacted] had told lies.

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Next: 25. The Crystal Ball Memo