Glenn L Carle’s Review of Ali Soufan book The Black Banners

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Real enemies will whisper about you. The murmurs and hisses to discredit Ali Soufan have echoed through the community of opinion makers and terrorism experts, and have even reached me. Shortly before Soufan’s book, The Black Banners, was published, a producer from a major media outlet spoke with me. “Was it true that Soufan had been a low-level FBI employee, who could not speak with authority about the nature of the terrorist threats to the United States because he lacked the necessary senior-level perspective? Wasn’t he exaggerating his knowledge and role? Wasn’t he a bit of a self-promoter?” the producer asked.

I could not help but smile to myself as I listened; the same character assassination had happened to me when my own book on interrogation and the War on Terror came out. I had been kept off a number of programs as a result. I also knew that Soufan already had been targeted this way several years earlier when his name first became public.I told the producer that Soufan’s career and mine had overlapped on many occasions, and although we had never to my knowledge met, in many instances I knew first-hand that Soufan’s description of events and policies were accurate.

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Johns Hopkins Magazine: The Wrong Man

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The interrogation room was bare except for a few metal chairs, and its tan walls looked as if they hadn’t been painted in decades. A single transom window stood cracked open slightly, but it couldn’t relieve the room’s stuffy air. Outside, beyond view, lay the hot, dusty streets of North Africa.

The prisoner—identified by the CIA as a top al-Qaida official—sat motionless, his salmon jumpsuit stretched across a middle-aged paunch. Glenn Carle, SAIS ’85, a career CIA spy, knelt before him. “We do not have much time,” Carle told the prisoner, whom he refers to by the code name CAPTUS. “The situation is changing.”

It was autumn of 2002, and Carle had been interrogating the man for weeks. During that time he’d gained the prisoner’s trust, using the same skills he’d honed as a case officer when he manipulated foreign nationals into revealing their countries’ secrets. Carle schmoozed, he chastised, he cajoled . . . whatever it took to ingratiate himself.

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