This week's TIME: A Top Interrogator Who's Against Torture
And NEWSWEEK: ‘We Could Have Done This the Right Way.’
Both explain how FBI agent Ali Soufan got Abu Zubaydah to talk without torture.
Here's an excerpt of Michael Isikoff's NEWSWEEK article:
No arrests, no FBI participants/witnesses... Principled or political?
The agent, Ali Soufan, was known as one of the bureau's top experts on Al Qaeda. He also had a reputation as a shrewd interrogator who could work fluently in both English and Arabic. Soufan yelled at one CIA contractor and told him that what he was doing was wrong, ineffective and an affront to American values. At one point, Soufan discovered a dark wooden "confinement box" that the contractor had built for Abu Zubaydah. It looked, Soufan recalls, "like a coffin." The mercurial agent erupted in anger, got on a secure phone line and called Pasquale D'Amuro, then the FBI assistant director for counter terrorism. "I swear to God," he shouted, "I'm going to arrest these guys!"
D'Amuro and other officials were alarmed at what they heard from Soufan. They fretted about the political consequences of abusive interrogations and the Washington blow back they thought was inevitable, say two high-ranking FBI sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.
According to a later Justice Department inspector general's report, D'Amuro warned FBI Director Bob Mueller that such activities would eventually be investigated. "Someday, people are going to be sitting in front of green felt tables having to testify about all of this," D'Amuro said, according to one of the sources.
Mueller ordered Soufan and a second FBI agent home.
Soufan, an MVP caliber anti-terrorism asset, has since quit the FBI.
He broke his silence in an April 23rd New York Times op-ed:
I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.Maybe it's just me, but it really looks like Cheney turning the screw...
We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber.
Cartoon: Wesley Bedrosian - New York Times, April 23, 2009.