Ali Soufan

  • Aired:  10/19/11
  •  | Views: 17,462

Former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan discusses the interrogation techniques he used to obtain intelligence from Al Qaeda operatives. (6:42)

MUCH.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN EXPERT ON

GETTING INFORMATION FROM

TERRORISTS.

I'M GOING TO HAVE HIM CALL TIME

WARNER CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR ME.

PLEASE WELCOME ALI SOUFAN.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

HEY, MR. SOUFAN.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

NOW, MANY PEOPLE HERE MAY NOT

KNOW WHO YOU ARE, BUT THEY

REALLY SHOULD BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT

QUITE THE IMPRESSIVE CV.

YOU'RE A FORMER SPECIAL AGENT

FOR THE F.B.I.

YOU SERVED ON THE FRONT LINES

AGAINST AL QAEDA AS AN

INTERROGATOR AND A COUNTER

TERRORISM OPERATOR.

AND YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK CALLED

"THE BLACK BANNERS: THE INSIDE

STORY OF 9/11 AND THE WAR

AGAINST AL QAEDA."

WHAT'S A BLACK BANNER?

>> THIS IS ACTUALLY WHAT AL

QAEDA BELIEVE THEY ARE.

THE BLACK BANNER IS A SAYING

FROM THE PROPHET OF ISLAM,

PROPHET MUHAMMED.

>> STEPHEN: I KNOW WHO THAT

IS.

SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD GUY, YEAH.

>> IT SAYS THAT THE BLACK

BANNERS WILL COME AT THE END OF

TIME FOR THE FINAL BATTLE OF

ARMAGEDDON, AND BIN LADEN MADE A

LOT OF THESE PEOPLE WHO JOINED

HIM IN AL QAEDA BELIEVE THAT

THEY ARE PART OF THIS BLACK

BANNER MYTH THAT'S GOING TO COME

TOWARDS THE END OF TIME.

>> STEPHEN: SO IT'S AN

APOCALYPTIC VISION.

>> WELL, IT JUST GIVES US HOW

LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT AL QAEDA AS

AN ORGANIZATION AFTER ALL THESE

YEARS FIGHTING IT.

>> STEPHEN: YOU ACTUALLY FOUND

OUT A FAIR BIT ABOUT AL QAEDA

FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THE

UNITED STATES.

YOU GOT BIN LADEN'S BODYGUARD TO

IDENTIFY THE SEPTEMBER 11TH

HIJACKERS.

YOU GOT ABU ZUBADA TO FINGER THE

9/11 MASTERMIND, AND YOU

UNEARTHED JOSE PADILLA'S PLAN TO

USE A DIRTY BOMB.

CAN I ASSUME ALL OF THAT IS

WATERBOARDING?

BECAUSE THAT ENHANCED

INTERROGATION IS WHAT GOT US THE

TIPS WE NEEDED TO FIGHT AL

QAEDA.

>> ACTUALLY, NONE OF THIS, AS

YOU MENTIONED, IS BECAUSE OF

INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES OR

WATERBOARDING.

FOR EXAMPLE, ABU ZUBADIA, THE

FIRST QUESTION, I ASKED HIM HIS

NAME.

HE GAVE ME A WRONG ALIAS, SO I

LOOKED AT HIM IN THE FACE, AND I

SAID, "WHAT I IF I CALL YOU

HANI?"

THAT WAS THE NAME HIS MOTHER

NICKNAMED HIM AS A CHILD.

HE HAD THAT LOOK, OH, MY GOSH,

HE GOT ME.

HE STARTED TALKING AND GAVE

ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE IN THE

FIRST HOUR OF OUR INTERROGATION.

>> STEPHEN: BUT IT WASN'T

ENOUGH BECAUSE THEY EVENTUALLY

BROUGHT IN AN OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR

WHO WATER BOARDED HIM 83 TIMES.

>> EXACTLY.

>> STEPHEN: SO IF YOU WERE

GETTING GOOD INFORMATION, THEY

WOULDN'T HAVE GIVEN HIM THE FREE

SWIMMING LESSONS.

>> RIGHT.

RIGHT.

THE 83 WATERBOARDING SESSIONS IS

JUST A PERFECT EXAMPLE HOW THESE

TECHNIQUES DON'T WORK BECAUSE...

>> STEPHEN: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

>> IF IT WORKED YOU'RE NOT GOING

TO DO 83 WITH HIM.

I WAS THERE WITH KHALID SHEIKH

MOHAMED.

THESE ENHANCED INTERROGATION

TECHNIQUES THAT CONCLUDE WITH

WATERBOARDING, AS APPALLING AS

THEY ARE TO PEOPLE IN THE WEST,

IT IS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT

THEY ARE EXPECTING TO RECEIVE IF

THEY ARE CAUGHT IN SOME EASTERN

JAIL, FOR EXAMPLE.

>> STEPHEN: RIGHT, SO WE'RE

STILL THE GOOD GUYS FOR DOING

IT.

LET'S BE CLEAR, YOU DON'T HAVE A

PROBLEM WITH WATERBOARDING?

>> I DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH

WATERBOARDING BECAUSE I DON'T

BELIEVE IT'S EFFECTIVE.

LET ME TELL YOU HOW

INTERROGATIONS WORK, FOR

EXAMPLE.

>> STEPHEN: I KNOW HOW THAT

WORKS.

GOOD COP, BAD COP, RIGHT?

>> NO.

>> STEPHEN: BAD COP WATER

BOARDS, GOOD COP CARRIES THE

TOWEL.

>> NO.

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS ON THE

FRONT LINE?

>> STEPHEN: I WAS ON THE FRONT

LINE HERE, MY FRIEND, EVERY

NIGHT.

SO HOW DO THEY WORK?

HOW DO YOU BELIEVE...

>> YOU OUTSMART THE INDIVIDUAL.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION

ALREADY UNDER YOUR FINGERTIPS ON

THAT PERSON, ON THE

ORGANIZATION.

YOU TRY TO OUTWIT THEM INTO

KNOWING YOU HAVE A LOT OF THINGS

ABOUT THEM.

FOR EXAMPLE, BIN LADEN'S

PERSONAL BODYGUARD HAD NO IDEA

WHO WERE THE HIJACKERS.

WE ONLY KNEW THAT HE KNEW ONE OF

THE HIJACKERS.

AFTER WE MADE HIM BELIEVE THAT

THAT HIJACKER MAY BE A SOURCE TO

US AND HE KNOWS A LOT ABOUT HIM,

HE STARTED IDENTIFYING EVERYONE

ELSE, AND THIS IS HOW WE KNEW

THAT SEVEN OUT OF THE HIJACKERS

WERE AL QAEDA OPERATIVES AND WE

HAD ALL THE INFORMATION THAT WE

NEEDED AT THE TIME THAT AL QAEDA

WAS BEHIND 9/11.

>> STEPHEN: OKAY.

SO YOU SAY YOU DON'T NEED TO USE

WATERBOARDING FOR ANY OF, THAT

BUT VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY SAID

THAT ENHANCED INTERROGATION,

LIKE WATERBOARDING, IS HOW WE

GOT THIS INFORMATION.

ARE YOU SAYING HE'S NOT TELLING

THE TRUTH?

>> WELL, I AM SAYING THAT I WAS

THERE AND HE WASN'T, AND I AM

SAYING...

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

IF YOU ARE SAYING...

>> GO AHEAD, NO, GO AHEAD.

>> I AM SAYING I'M THE ONLY ONE

SO FAR IN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

WHO GAVE A STATEMENT UNDER OATH

ABOUT THE ALLEGED EFFICACY OF

ENHANCED INTERGATION TECHNIQUES.

WHEN OTHER PEOPLE WANT TO RAISE

THEIR RIGHT HAND AND TAKE THAT

OATH AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS,

THEN WE CAN TALK.

>> Stephen: IF YOU'RE SAYING

THESE PEOPLE WON'T RAISE THEIR

RIGHT HAND AND TAKE THE OATH,

YOU'RE SAYING THESE PEOPLE ARE

NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.

YOU'RE SAYING THAT DICK CHENEY

IS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.

AND I KNOW THE ONLY WAY THE GET

THE TRUTH OUT OF HIM.

WATER BOARD THE GUY.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

>> I BELIEVE THERE'S MANY OTHER

WAYS.

>> STEPHEN: NO.

LET'S TALK ACTED AL QAEDA NOW.

WE'RE TAKING THESE GUYS OUT LEFT

AND RIGHT.

WE JUST TOOK OUT AL-AWLAKI WITH

A DRONE OVER YEMEN.

ARE YOU DOWN WITH THAT?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: I'M DOWN WITH IT.

EN I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE

YOU'RE DOWN WITH IT.

AN AMERICAN CITIZEN WITHOUT A

TRIAL GETS BLOWN UP OVER IN

YEMEN BECAUSE HE'S ON THE KILL

OR CAPTURE LIST.

>> STEPHEN, I DON'T LIKE TO

DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TERRORISTS

BASED ON NATIONALITY.

IF YOU DECLARE WAR ON THE UNITED

STATES AND YOU WANT THE KILL US,

WE'RE GOING TO KILL YOU FIRST.

PERIOD.

[APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: I LIKE THESE

PEOPLE.

HOW DO YOU GET... IF YOU'RE ON

THE KILL OR CAPTURE LIST,HOW DO

YOU GET OFF?

AND I'M JUST ASKING FOR A

FRIEND.

>> I THINK ONE DAY YOU WILL BE

SITTING IN A CAVE OR IN A ROOM

OR IN A SMALL LITTLE MUD HOUSE

IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRIBAL AREA

AND A DRONE COMES AND TAKES YOU

OFF THE LIST.

>> STEPHEN: SO THERE'S ONLY

REALLY ONE EXIT?

>> IT'S LIKE HOTEL CALIFORNIA.

>> STEPHEN: THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING ME.

ALI SOUFAN.

THE BOOK IS "THE BLACK BANNERS."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.