September 30th, 2011
10:29 PM ET

Video: How does U.S. justify killing a citizen?

Anderson Cooper talks to Jeffrey Toobin about the legal issues involved in the killing of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Filed under: Jeffrey Toobin • Terrorism • War on Terror
Book Excerpt from "The Black Banners"
September 30th, 2011
07:14 PM ET

Book Excerpt from "The Black Banners"

Editor's Note: Tonight on AC360°, Anderson interviews Ali Soufan, a former top FBI Special Agent who's been on the legal frontiers in the fight against Al Qaeda. He'll give us an insider's perspective on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Read an excerpt from his book and tune in at 8pm ET.

By Ali H. Soufan with Daniel Freedman


So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will win a hundred times in a hundred battles.

—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“You can’t stop the mujahideen,” Abu Jandal told me on September 17, 2001. “We will be victorious.” We sat across a rectangular table from each other in a nondescript interrogation room with unadorned white walls in a high-level national security prison in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The prison was operated by the country’s central intelligence agency, the Political Security Organization (PSO), the complex also serving as its headquarters. PSO officials in traditional Yemeni dress were ranged on plastic chairs along one wall, observing the conversation. Abu Jandal—the name means “father of death”—was the most senior al-Qaeda operative in custody; he had served as Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguard and trusted confidant. We got to him through Fahd al-Quso, a Yemeni al-Qaeda operative involved in the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole. Quso had identified, in a photograph shown to him the previous evening, a man whom we knew to be Marwan al-Shehhi, who was on board United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Shehhi had once stayed at a safe house in Afghanistan operated by Abu Jandal.

I gave my partner, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agent Robert McFadden, a bemused look. He raised his eyebrows and smiled at Abu Jandal. Only training and experience enabled Bob and me to smile and appear relaxed, because below the surface we were seething. “You’ll find that you have underestimated America,” I replied, speaking in Arabic, “but tell me, why do you think you’ll be victorious?”


Filed under: al Qaeda • War on Terror • Yemen
June 15th, 2010
10:41 AM ET

American arrested searching for Osama bin Laden

CNN Wire Staff

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - A 52-year-old American citizen who said he was searching for Osama bin Laden was detained in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan this week, Pakistani police said Tuesday.

The Californian named Gary Brooks Faulkner was carrying a pistol, a sword, night-vision equipment and Christian religious books, said Mumtaz Ahmed, a police chief in the area.

Faulkner was detained as he was walking from Pakistan toward the border into Nuristan province in Afghanistan, Ahmed said. He told police that he had been looking for bin Laden since 9/11 and had traveled to the area several times before, Ahmed said.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • War on Terror
June 9th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Opinion: Drone war hitting its targets

Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann
Special to CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/09/bergen.drone.war/tzleft.split.bergen.tiedemann.courtesy.jpg caption="Co-authors say data shows drone strikes getting more accurate, killing fewer civilians" width=300 height=169]

Last week the U.N.'s senior official for extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, argued in a critical report and remarks delivered in Geneva, Switzerland, that the United States should explain the legal rationale for the CIA's campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, which he characterized as "a vaguely defined license to kill" that has created "a major accountability vacuum."

Alston is also urging the Obama administration to disclose the number of civilians killed in the drone strikes. That is a controversial matter among the Pakistani public, less than a tenth of whom support the strikes, because of their perceived high civilian death rate.

The drones' latest important victim is Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian founding member of al-Qaeda who served as the group's number three and was in charge of overseeing the group's plots, recruitment, fund-raising and internal security.

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February 18th, 2010
08:29 PM ET

Video: Detainees held for 96 hours

Abbie Boudreau
CNN Special Investigations Unit

February 18th, 2010
03:39 PM ET

U.S. reviewing Afghanistan detainee policy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/02/18/afghanistan.detainees/story.hill.fam.jpg caption="Roger Hill, a former Army captain (right), meets with Afghan elders in Afghanistan with his interpreter next to him." width=300 height=169]

Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit

A controversial policy that limits the amount of time NATO troops can hold Afghan detainees is under review by U.S. Defense Department officials, a spokesman for the department told CNN.

The review of what's known as the "96-hour rule" is under way as CNN questioned whether the policy was putting soldiers in danger. Under the rule, NATO troops have 96 hours to either turn over detainees to Afghan authorities or release them - a rule put in effect to avoid Abu Ghraib-like offenses.

"We are currently reviewing the 96-hour rule, but have yet to make decisions about how we wish to proceed in light of some of the obvious problems associated with it," Geoff Morrell, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told CNN in a statement.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • War on Terror
February 11th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Interactive: Newly released 9/11 photos show World Trade Center from above


Newly released photographs show what a damaged World Trade Center tower and its collapse looked like from a New York Police Department helicopter as it flew nearby on September 11, 2001, in New York.

The aerial photos were obtained by ABC News after it filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which had collected the images for its investigation into the towers' collapse.

A couple of the images show one of the twin towers burning after a hijacked airplane had flown into it. Others show it collapsing, and the rest show the clouds of debris and dust spreading below after the towers crumbled.

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January 7th, 2010
10:37 AM ET
November 24th, 2009
10:23 AM ET
October 8th, 2009
10:42 AM ET

U.S.-Pakistan goals coming into alignment

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/10/08/bergen.pakistan/art.islamabad.afp.gi.jpg caption="Militant attacks, such as this one in Islamabad on Monday, are turning the Pakistani population against jihadists."]
Peter Bergen

It hasn't been too often in the past couple of years that you could write about good news from Pakistan. But if there is a silver lining to the atrocities that have plagued the country in the past several years, it is the fact that the Pakistani public, government and military are increasingly seeing the jihadist militants on their territory in a hostile light.

The Taliban's assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the country's most popular politician; al Qaeda's bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad; the attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore; the widely circulated video images of the Taliban flogging a 17-year-old girl; and multiple large-scale attacks on Pakistani police and army installations by the Taliban have provoked real revulsion among the Pakistani public.

In fact, historians will likely record the Taliban's decision to move earlier this year from Pakistan's Swat Valley into Buner District, only 60 miles from Islamabad, as the tipping point that finally galvanized Pakistan to confront the fact that the jihadist monster it had helped to spawn was now trying to swallow its creator.

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Pakistan • Taliban • Terrorism • War on Terror
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