As we’ve noted a couple times at EW, I will be hosting Glenn Carle to discuss his book, The Interrogator, at Saturday’s FDL Book Salon. As you no doubt know, his book describes his interrogation of what was described as a high level al Qaeda figure (the detainee wasn’t) and his objections to the government’s use of dislocation and other torture methods with him.
But Carle’s book doesn’t reveal the locations at which these interrogations took place, nor the detainee’s identity. So I wanted to make sure you had seen Scott Horton’s posts yesterday revealing those details.
As Horton describes, the detainee called CAPTUS in Carle’s book is actually a businessman by the name of Pacha Wazir who ran a hawala al Qaeda used.
As The Interrogator: An Education details, in the fall of 2002, Carle was the CIA case officer for a man identified as CAPTUS — but who was clearly Pacha Wazir — who had operated an informal money-changing and transfer business, known as a hawala system, that may have had customers with terrorist ties.
And the two locations described in the book are a location outside of Rabat, Morocco and Afghanistan’s Salt Pit.
As for the location of the initial rendition, the opening chapters of Carle’s book play out in an unnamed desert country where French and Arabic are spoken interchangeably, and where domestic intelligence services were holding terrorism suspects for CIA interrogation under a program a New York City Bar Association Report described as “torture by proxy.” “There is no doubt that Carle is talking about Morocco,” said John Sifton, an attorney who studied the CIA detentions program on behalf of Human Rights Watch and other organizations, and who travelled to Morocco in early 2006 to look into reports that the CIA was holding terrorism suspects there. “Most of the events described in the early chapters occurred in and around Rabat, which is where it appears the CIA detention arrangements were being carried out.”
In my interview with him, Sifton pointed to flight records from CIA aircraft used for detainee transport, which detailed several flights from Rabat to Afghanistan that matched the flight described by Carle in a chapter entitled “Methane Breathers” (a term he used to describe the CIA officers clad as ninjas who roughed up and humiliated Pacha Wazir on a Moroccan airstrip). The prisoner was then transferred to a CIA-run prison near Kabul. The description in Carle’s book perfectly matches existing accounts of the Salt Pit, a prison maintained by the CIA in an abandoned brick factory north of Kabul.
In his posts, Horton also reminds readers that Wazir was first profiled in Ron Suskind’s One Percent Doctrine. Suskind describes how the CIA picked up Wazir just as he was attempting to meet with the FBI to explain his business.
The UAE’s central bank had done its job–too well. They’d gone ahead on their own and frozen Wazir’s assets. That was just the start. Wazir, seeing that his millions were frozen, called up the central bank, indignant. The head of the central bank told Wazir that he was under investigation by the FBI.
Cool customer that he was, Wazir expressed outrage. “Are there FBI agents in the country?” he asked the banker, who said, yes, right here in Dubai. “Well then, I’ll meet with them, and explain everything,” Wazir said. “I’m sure it’s just a mistake.”
The next morning, a plump Emirates financier, in his white gown, vest, kufi cap, and fastidiously trimmed beard, left his palatial home in Dubai to travel downtown for his meeting with the FBI. In his driveway, he was greeted by a team of agents from the CIA. He went without a struggle.
After rendering Wazir, Suskind explains, the CIA reopened his hawala and used it to round up al Qaeda figures who had used the facility.
I will probably do a follow-up post next week to talk about some of the secondary implications of Carle’s book (I suspect Carle will be unable to address many of these issues):
- What does it mean that he was never able to get the documents Wazir had with him when he was rendered (which he presumably intended to use to answer the FBI’s questions)?
- What does it mean that he was at the Salt Pit not long after the Gul Rahman death?
- What does it mean that two cables he sent criticizing the interrogation program got disappeared?
- What do Carle’s disclosures say about the government’s successful attempt to dismiss Wazir’s habeas corpus suit?
But in the interim, for those of you reading the book in anticipation of the Book Salon, I wanted to make sure you had seen these details.