Knowledge and interrogation tradecraft


in Bombs and rockets, Psychology, Security

While I was in the United States, I received an urgent call from [assistant U.S. attorney David] Kelley. “Ali, you need to get to Yemen right away,” he said. “We’ve finally signed the agreement with the Yemenis allowing us to interrogate [Jamal al-] Badawi, but there’s no one who can interrogate him.”

“What about Bob and George?” I asked, “They’re both first-class interrogators and are capable of handling the interrogation.”

“They can’t,” Kelley replied. “The Yemenis gave their own interrogation reports to our team, and Bob, George, and everyone else read it.” I understood the problem: a person reading the existing interrogation report would not know how the Yemenis had conducted their sessions—whether they had used reliable methods or had obtained information by torturing the detainee, for example. But the information would be in their minds, affecting their questions and their judgment, and thus any information gained would be potentially tainted and unreliable. It’s a risk we were not prepared to take, as it could jeopardize the prosecutions. “You’re the only team member who hasn’t read the report,” Kelley added.

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll leave as soon as possible.”

“Whatever you do,” he added, “don’t read anything about Badawi from the Yemenis before you interrogate him.”

Soufan, Ali H. The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. 2011. p. 222

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. January 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Key USS Cole suspect Jamal al-Badawi killed in U.S. airstrike, Trump says

The Yemeni al-Qaeda operative was accused of organizing the 2000 attack, in which 17 American sailors were killed.

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