Thursday, April 23, 2009

More on Zubaydah

Various blogs are ruminating on the timeline of the Zubaydah waterboard in relation to the thwarted Los Angeles attack. On the surface it does appear they claimed KSM's enhanced interrogation in 2003 broke up a plot on the Library Tower in 2002.

So, being bored and at the same time flummoxed by the slow motion trainwreck this represents for America, I ventured back in the archives here to see whether I'd ever scribbled anything profound about the Zubaydah thing. I didn't find anything. But I did find this:
Actually, reports were that Zubaydah had multiple personalities and was essentially crazy. Others disagreed strongly, especially Tenet, who mentions that Ressam the millennium bomber told them before 9/11 that Abu was going to attack America, which was supposedly briefed to Rice in summer 2001.

Of course, Ressam's name brings to mind Sandy Berger and whatever it was he was trying to redact from the National Archives. Recall it was something to do with the Millennium After Action Report. Many possibilities, in other words.
Berger risked his career stuffing those docs in his socks yet the answer to why he'd take the chance has never been forthcoming and the Bush Justice Dept never seemed very interested in justice. Ah yes we were told--he was just a lone wolf bumbler.

Anyway, Zubaydah was also involved with the various players attending the famed Kuala Lumpur terror summit in 2000, including Yazit Sufaat, a microbiologist supposedly studying bioweapons for al Qaeda, and the notorious Hambali. Perhaps the CIA interrogators grilling Abu in 2002 were trying to pull something out of him in that general area and weren't getting anywhere with the conventional, so they wanted to go with plan B. Recall the Bybee memo said the CIA "knew" he was withholding information. Cheney also mentioned the anthrax letter attacks as one of the mitigating factors on the Hannity interview Monday. And from CBS News in 2003:
Hambali, as al Qaeda's main connection in the Far East, was apparently trying to open an Al Qaeda bio-weapons branch plant.

According to the interrogation documents, Hambali told his U.S. interrogators he had been "working on an Al Qaeda Anthrax program in Kandahar," Afghanistan.

There he worked with a man named Yazid Sufaat, a fellow member of the al Qaeda affiliated terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. Sufaat had received a degree in chemistry and laboratory science from California State University in Sacramento.

But in October 2001, when things became too hot during the U.S. bombing campaign of Afghanistan, Hambali and Sufaat fled to safety in neighboring Pakistan. There again according to the interrogation reports, the two men discussed "continuing the anthrax program in Indonesia".
But I continue to be intrigued that Gerald Posner got the following quote for his book published in 2003:
To the surprise of the CIA team watching the event unfold live on video, Zubaydah said that 9/11 changed nothing because both Prince Ahmed and Mir knew beforehand that an attack was scheduled for American soil that day. They just didn't know what it would be, nor did they want to know more than that. The information had been passed to them, said Zubaydah, because bin Laden knew they could not stop it without knowing the specifics, but later they would be hard-pressed to turn on him if he could disclose their foreknowledge.
Hmm. Bring on the hearings?

No comments: