Former FBI Interrogator: Cheney Owes Obama an Apology

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/truthout/4279076431/sizes/z/in/photostream/">Truthout</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


*After speaking at an event at the New America Foundation Tuesday, former FBI agent Ali Soufan weighed in on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s call for President Barack Obama to apologize for its past criticism of Bush-era practices. Soufan thought it should be the other way around. “I think if Mr. Cheney wanted to apologize for not getting [Osama] bin Laden, for not getting the top leadership of al Qaeda, for the enhanced interrogation techniques that have caused more problems than anything else, the address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

Soufan, who is promoting his new book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, was one of only a handful of fluent Arabic speakers in the FBI when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He became a high profile critic of the Bush administration’s use of torturous interrogation techniques after leaving the bureau. 

In The Black Banners, Soufan recalls an incident in which FBI Director Robert Mueller refers to Soufan as “the future of the FBI,” implying that native Arabic speakers will be crucial to the fight against terrorism. Yet Soufan reiterated that the bureau, which has recently faced criticism from Muslim groups over its use of Anti-Muslim counterterrorism training materials, was still struggling with finding recruits in the American Muslim community.

Asked why that was the case, Soufan said, “I wish I could tell you, I have no idea. I think many Arab Americans today when they go to the FBI, they think of them as subjects not as [potential] agents, I think that’s a big problem that we have to work on and we have to fix.”

Although initially opposed to a “torture commission,” Soufan said that he’d come around to the idea that torture should be re-examined. “We need to tell the American people once and for all, was this effective?”

*Clarification: Soufan offered the answer in response to a question from me, not during his speech.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate