Targeting the Seeds of Terror: The Case File on Ali Soufan
October 1, 2011

Security Clearance, CNN
By: Suzanne Kelly, Sr. National Security Producer


Editor’s note: In the Security Clearance “Case File” series, CNN national security producers profile the key members of the intelligence community.

As an FBI interrogator, Ali Soufan had to be patient. It was his job to use what he had at his disposal, including his native Arabic skills and dark complexion, to not only identify with terrorism suspects around the world but to earn their trust. His ability to glean information, however seemingly trivial, was the strongest tool he had when it came to identifying and disrupting terrorist organizations.

Such was the case with Abu Zubayda, who in 2002 confirmed to Soufan that another terrorist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

That particular interrogation was also one of his most controversial because of his public criticism of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques against Zubaydh. The CIA insisted that the techniques were not only necessary but useful.

Soufan argued otherwise. (Soufan elaborates on his experiences with and his stand against enhanced interrogation techniques in his new book with Daniel Freedman, “The Black Banners.”)

By the time Soufan interrogated Zubayda…


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