The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda
A book that will change the way we think about al-Qaeda, intelligence, and the events that forever changed America.
On September 11, 2001, FBI Special Agent Ali H. Soufan was handed a secret file. Had he received it months earlier—when it was requested—the attacks on New York and Washington could have been prevented. During his time on the front lines, Soufan helped thwar...more
A Lebanese-American assigned to the FBI’s counterterrorism office in New York Ci ...more
This got 4 stars because it is a very important book written mostly in the first person. There is a great deal of detail, naming names and places, though much has been redacted by the CIA. It was tough getting through the beginning, but well worth slogging through the background part.
Soufan demonstrates that absolute power absolutely corrupts. After the tragedy of 9/11, the country was in the mood for revenge. Bush and his neo-cons were more than ready to ...more
When I finished reading this book I knew three things, that my understanding that the FBI and the CIA had learned to work together, under the same agenda, since 9/11, was wrong, and that I was still deeply against the use of ...more
The author, Ali Soufan, is a native Arabic speaker who spent eight years as an FBI special agent, from the time just before 9/11 and throu ...more
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, h ...more
Ali Soufan was an FBI investigator and interrogator. This is the guy whose old-school, non-"enhanced" interrogation led to the initial connection between Al Queda and 9/11. He conducted multiple interrogations that led to multiple arrests and convictions in courts of law of terrorists.
He also paints a picture of an FBI and an old-fashioned form of interrogati ...more
No, I don't believe that dealing with the terror ...more
Ali Soufan was one of the FBI's leading experts on al-Qaeda and their leading expert on interrogating high value detainees, both before and shortly after 9/11. He writes of the successes that he and his team had while using traditional criminal interrogation techniques. Inexplicably even as he was in the middle of an interrogation with a cooperating witness, the CIA decided that ...more
Ali Soufan also details not only how torture ("enhanced interrogation techniques") don't work, he at the same time describes how traditional police-type interrogations can and do work, with the right person in c ...more
Soufan was an investigator and after several successful interrogations he became the FBI's most ...more
Ali Soufan tells this story in a really beautiful, human way. He brings us into the room with him as he does intellectual battle with al-Qaeda operatives to gather actionable intelligence.
I'll admit that I was kind of on the fence about EIT - but not af ...more
Also, as a conservative who believed the rhetoric put out by the Bush administration about EIT programs, I was very thankful to get the truth behind EITs and their lack of success. I'm not surprised that an organization like the CIA w ...more
Ali comes across as self-righteous and with a very high opinion of himself, but based on his admittedly one-sided account, his techniques appeared to be effective and probably helped thwart additional attacks on US soil. The CIA and to a much lesser degree the White House look quite inept in the book, which probably led to a portion of the redactions they requested. The redacted parts ar ...more
That we know in detail not only who did these things, how they were planned and financed, and how they were carried out is due in large part to the efforts of Ali Soufan and people working with him. You may have seen him on 60 Minutes, heard him on Morning Edition, or heard him on Terry Gross, but The Black Banners is still w ...more
Despite significant redactions of the text mandated by the embarassed CIA (particularly the chapter on the CIA's interrogation of Zubaydah), Soufan's story reveals the al-Qaeda story from its earliest origins right through 2009 activities, and includes a chapter on the intellig ...more
It is also very disturbing to learn, in detail, how lack of cooperation from the CIA and Defense Department compromised these investiga ...more
Soufan showed through his interrogations that Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, such as waterboarding was entirely the wrong way to interrogate people, using knowledge gained from previous interrogatted people was the b ...more
Good read for anyone who's interested in current events, history, terrorism, criminal / inte ...more