“The Interrogator:” A CIA insider’s crisis of conscience
In a secret prison, a true believer in the war on terror realized he was tormenting an innocent man
BY LAURA MILLER
“The situation had become Kafkaesque,” writes Glenn Carle toward the end of “The Interrogator: An Education,” his new memoir. Boy, he ain’t kidding; the author of “The Trial” and “The Metamorphosis” would have appreciated this narrative on any number of levels. Carle worked for the CIA for 23 years, in Africa, the Balkans and Latin America, among other locales, but the focus of his book is the several-month period he spent questioning a suspected leader of al-Qaida in two countries he is not permitted to name.
There’s quite a lot Carle isn’t allowed to say in “The Interrogator.” Many lines and words on these pages have been masked with black bars to indicate what “the Agency” forbade him to publish. “I have written this book literally a dozen times over,” the author notes in his afterword, explaining that he was willing to address “legitimate” CIA concerns when it came to revelations about its “sources and methods.”
But such objections were, as Carle makes abundantly clear, amply mixed with ludicrous pettifoggery and ass-covering. This annoyed him enough that he decided to leave in the redacted bits, complete with black bars, and add the occasional withering explanatory footnote, like one that reads: “Apparently the CIA fears that the redacted passage would either humiliate the organization for incompetence or expose its officers to ridicule; unless the Agency considers obtuse incompetence a secret intelligence method.”