Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ex-FBI agent: Dysfunction led to 9/11

Former counterterrorism officer accuses CIA of withholding intelligence before terror attacks

WASHINGTON: This is not easy news to digest. FBI agent Ali Soufan has written a memoir about his days as a counterterrorism expert from 1997 to 2005, during which he was heavily involved in the struggle against Al-Qaeda.

Soufan recounts his experiences at the heart of high-profile terror investigations, and says the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture on detainees was unnecessary and counterproductive.

The book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda, co-written with by Daniel Freedman, a colleague at Soufan’s New York security company, went on sale on Monday (Sept. 12).

Before his retirement, Soufan for years was the FBI’s lead agent in the war against Al-Qaeda, as well as its most effective interrogator, which is one reason why his book has become an instant attraction here.

Soufan accuses the CIA of insisting on scores of redactions, he says, are not justified on security grounds but are aimed at undermining an account that reflects badly on the agency.

He also blames CIA officials, who he says deliberately withheld crucial documents of Al-Qaeda operatives from the FBI, on the lack of action against two of the 9/11 hijackers which allegedly could have helped thwart the 9/11 attack. more