Ali Soufan Interviewed: Ex-FBI Agent Who Interrogated Qaeda Members Speaks Out
September 9, 2011
CBS News – 60 Minutes
Host: Lara Logan
Ali Soufan, the Lebanese-American FBI agent whose questioning of Qaeda members after 9/11 gleaned valuable intelligence – including confirmation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the mastermind of the attacks – reveals his face for the first time in a “60 Minutes” interview with Lara Logan to be broadcast Sunday, September 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.
Soufan used his fluency in Arabic and his understanding of Middle Eastern culture and religious ideology to learn information from captured al Qaeda members, including America’s first high-value detainee after 9/11, Abu Zubaydah. Using a combination of “knowledge and empathy,” says Soufan, he was able to build a rapport with Zubaydah, and Zubaydah accidently identified Khalid Sheik Mohammed as the 9/11 mastermind. “You need to connect with people on a human level – regardless, if they don’t like you, want to kill you,” Soufan tells Logan.
He said most of his interrogation subjects don’t expect to be treated respectfully, engaged in conversation and offered food and drink. “And that scares them, that shakes them, because they were trained that we are so evil and we torture and we kill and that is the reason of the rage against us,” says Soufan. “I try to deprive them from [the rage]…”
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