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
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If you prefer first person more conversational accounts, you may prefer The Black Banners.(less)
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
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
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
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
This book was interesting for detailing his own personal achievements at the FBI as well as for its history of Al Qaeda up to and after 9/11. Of ...more
The insights put forth by Ali on the methods of interrogation is definitely an interesting read. If you are looking for an early history of Al Qaeda then this book does not cover that part, Ali has hardly mentioned anything about the formation of Al Qaeda and its objective ...more
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, h ...more
There have been a large number of essays and books on Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks over the past ten years. There are perhaps as many theories and conclusions about what the Al-Qaeda is like and what its goals are and why Muslims join them as well. Browsing through them and reading some of them in depth, I find that many of them are contradictory to one another. Some say that Al-Qaeda is a hierarchical, well-organized outfit while others say it is dysfunctional and ridden with internal dissens ...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
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
Soufan was an investigator and after several successful interrogations he became the FBI's mos ...more
No, I don't believe that dealing with the terror ...more
I recommend this book to all of my friends; especially if you'd like to better understand the quagmire Americ ...more
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Also, a lot of conversations [1 word redacted] unnatural, [2 words redacted] beneficial [2 words redacted] Soufan in hindsight, [4 words redacted]. The information regarding interrogations [2 words redacted] enhanced techniques seldom work [4 words redacted] though.
Hint: if you don't like the redacted nature of this review, d ...more
This book is a good picture of the hope and frustrations of an FBI agent in investigating Al Qaeda terrorism prior to 9/11 and trying to prevent an event like 9/11 from happening, and dealing with its increasingly brutal and complicated aftermath as America rushed ...more