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The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War against al-Qaeda
     

The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War against al-Qaeda

4.3 8
by Ali Soufan, Daniel Freedman
 

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ISBN-10: 0393079422

ISBN-13: 9780393079425

Pub. Date: 09/12/2011

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

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,

Overview

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 thwart plots around the world and elicited some of the most important confessions from terrorists in the war against al-Qaeda—without laying so much as a hand on them. Most of these stories have never been reported before, and never by anyone with such intimate firsthand knowledge.
This narrative account of America's successes and failures against al-Qaeda is essential to an understanding of the terrorist group. We are taken into hideouts and interrogation rooms. We have a ringside seat at bin Laden's personal celebration of the 9/11 bombings. Such riveting details show us not only how terrorists think and operate but also how they can be beaten and brought to justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393079425
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/12/2011
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
159,240
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

Table of Contents

Important Note Concerning The Text xi

Map xii

Prologue xv

Note To Readers xxv

Part 1 The Early Years

1 The Fatwa and the Bet 3

2 Osama Air 33

3 The Northern Group 56

Part 2 Declaration of War

4 The al-Qaeda Switchboard 75

5 Operation Challenge and the Manchester Manual 97

6 "You'll Be Singing Like a Canary" 121

7 Millennium Plot 131

Part 3 Uss Cole

8 A Naval Destroyer inYemen? 149

9 The Hall of Death 168

10 "We're Stubborn, but We're Not Crazy" 185

11 The Human Polygraph Machine 209

12 "What Is al-Qaeda Doing in Malaysia?" 228

13 Bin Laden's Errand Boy 254

Part 4 The Attack That Changed The World

14 The Binalshibh Riddle 271

15 "What Dots?" 284

16 The Father of Death 306

Part 5 A New World Order

17 Bin Laden's Escape 343

18 DocEx 350

19 Black Magic 356

Part 6 The First High-Value Detainee

20 Abu Zubaydah 373

21 The Contractors Take Over 393

22 "We Don't Do That" 411

Part 7 Successes And Failures

23 Guantánamo Bay 439

24 45 Minutes 484

25 The Crystal Ball Memo 502

Part 8 Final Missions

26 Leaving the FBI 511

27 Undercover 518

Postscript 525

Conclusion 531

Acknowledgments 539

Principal Characters 545

Key Documents And Articles Cited 569

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The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War against al-Qaeda 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Manchops More than 1 year ago
I've made it a point to never pen a review immediately after finishing a book. I do this because, as a critic, I don't want to feel as if I'm unintentionally overrating or underrating any author's effort. I try to let the work sink in a bit, to have it seep through all the corners of my brain, to soak it across all my consciousness. I do this in hopes that I'll give a more cogent, a more salient, and a more respectful analysis of the work. The longer I allowed Ali Soufen's "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda" to float around in my head, the more frustrated I grew . frustrated with the tale . frustrated with the participants . and even frustrated a bit with the author. For starters, it's a tremendous and personal work. Clocking in at just over 600 pages, it's a wealth of history about al-Qaida and the terrorist organization's various major (and a few minor) players. And, as Mr. Soufen repeatedly suggests to those around him, "it all starts back in 1979 when ." He provides outstanding context for the background, and he allows the story to build reasonably from there. Consequently, the book is a comprehensive accounting of names, dates, and places, and, no doubt, it's penned by one committed and impressive mind that have synthesized a vast canvass of data into the effective conclusions that our narrator does. In his bid to tell the definitive insider's story of 9/11, Mr. Soufen clearly is the best-educated, best-prepared, and best-suited to enlighten all of us with where the mindset of such an act began, and the first half of his book goes to great pains to bring the reader up-to-speed on how a few decades of history climaxed with that seminal moment: the destruction of the two World Trade Center towers. For the reader, it's an at times frustrating experience in all of its 600 pages. This isn't intended as a slight toward Mr. Soufen - I think the very nature of exploring these events and the people who caused them strays into territory where some may fear to tread - but there may have been a better person to tell this story so that so much of it didn't appear so personal to him. Immersing oneself inside the story, by its very nature, brings the narrator to life, and that drags all the good, the bad, and the ugly into the spotlight and places it alongside the bad guys here. Whether he intended it this way or not, Soufen became the focus (for this reader, anyway) at key points in the narrative; as the story went on, I found myself mildly less-and-less interested in the war and more drawn to the narrator, in not a good way. For example, Soufen almost lovingly (and dangerously) narrates the backstory of al-Qaida's leadership, exploring the men's history, hopes, and dreams, underscoring to the reader that, perhaps at some point in their past, they were not different from you or I . and, well, yes, I suppose that's true except for that whole little 'jihad to bring down Western civilization,' that is. In his bid to extract information as a lead interrogator, Soufen laughs with them; he cries with them; and he even prays with them . so long as it will get them one step closer to sharing intel and a confession to aid the United States in stopping al-Qaida's mission of destruction. And, just maybe, therein rests the only real problem I had with the book: Ali Soufen and his 'band of Untouchables' can do no wrong here. Indeed, Soufen's own actions take on almost mythic proportions as he al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're wondering how we could've prevented the attacks, then read this book.
civiwarlibrarian More than 1 year ago
Ali H. Soufan, former Federal Bureau of Investigation interrogator and counter-terrorism operative, discloses the successes, failures, bureaucratic incompetence and turf protection of some federal agencies from al-Qaeda's declaration of war in 1996 through the death of Usama bin Ladin in 2012. Soufan is a Lebanese American who graduated in 1995 from Mansfield University, a institution in the Pennsylvania university system. On September 11, 2001, FBI Special Agent Ali H. Soufan was handed a secret file. Had he received it months earlier, when he had requested it, the 9/11 attacks may have been prevented. From his beginning employment in 1995 through his 2005 departure from the FBI, Soufan interrogated prisoners and elicited some of the most important confessions from terrorists in the war against al-Qaeda. His method of interrogation used conversation only and he never used violence. Soufan provides intimate firsthand knowledge of the investigation into the October 2000 attack on the USN Cole in Yemin. Al-Qaeda hideouts, CIA and FBI interrogation rooms, Guantanemo Bay and al-Qaeda in America are the environments are are revealed either by first hand observations or revealed in interrogations. Usama bin Laden's personal celebration of the 9/11 bombings, the mindset, personal lives of terrorists as well as their thought processes and operate style are each presented. The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 And The War Against Al-Qaeda essential and compelling reading. Words, phrases and paragraphs within the text have been blackened out by order of the Central Intelligence Agency.
BeirutVet83 More than 1 year ago
Ali Soufan is an incredible story teller and an advocate for the truth. A true patriot, he tells the story without pulling punches. I am embarrassed and saddened on how our own U.S. Government chose to handle the intelligence and insights that we were provided prior to 9/11... though I'm not surprised. In the early 1980's, I had the opportunity to be "around" our intelligence communities. They were brash and full-of-themselves them, obviously in the late 90's/early 2000's this continued. Ali Soufan is a warrior and a true credit to the storied history of the FBI.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheHam More than 1 year ago
The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda by Ali Soufan is a gripping non -fiction account of the "war on terror" by one the the F.B.I.'s most qualified experts on the subject. Ali Soufan is an F.B.I. interrogator born in Lebanon who moved to the United States as a child. Soufan's incidental- and comical- arrival into the ranks of the F.B.I. arose from a bet he made with one of his frat buddies at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. A friend suggest Soufan try out for the F.B.I. given his fluency in both English and Arabic. His friends laughed at the idea, one friend even joking that the Bureau would immediately throw away the application. In true frat-boy fashion Ali accepted the challenge and miraculously two years later Soufan was handpicked by top directors to work for the National Security Division. Soufan was among the first in the F.B.I. to call attention to what was at that time a fringe extremist group "al-Qaeda". His reports on Osama Bin Laden predicted Bin Laden's influence on the middle east and his impact on the United States. His vast knowledge of the Qur'an and middle eastern culture combined with his perfect English and American upbringing gave him a unique edge in his field. He interviewed the United State's top al-Qaeda captives and was the interrogator that implicated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind behind 9/11. Soufan is renowned in the Bureau for his ability to outwit terrorist. Having convinced an al-Qaeda operative that he already knew who was behind 9/11 Soufan was able to get the prisoner to talk about the attacks as if he wasn't telling the F.B.I. anything they didn't already know. Soufan's unique aptitude for his work and multi-perspective nature gives the book an heir of inarguable credibility. He writes his accounts in plain yet very intelligent language and in a sort of narrative form that really brings you into the interrogation room. Soufan left the Bureau in 2005 after condemning the CIA from withholding information from his division that he believes he could have used to prevent 9/11. Soufan writes with an obvious integrity that really grabs the reader. It was hands down the most entertaining work of non-fiction I've ever read.
Mike_B71 More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up and never put it down. Ali Soufan is a true American Hero. Thank you for your service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
9/11 Was an inside job wake up people. The taliban help a press conference 10 days after 9/11 and said they are ready for the trial for usama bin laden if the united can provide evidence. And guess what we didnt because their is none. Look it up it was on CNN. 9/11 Isnt even mentioned on his FBI poster Wake up