David Frum, a conservative journalist and public intellectual, often has revealing insights into matters that are bogged down in cliches. Here he goes back to a book by Gerald Posner dealing with some of the secrets of 9/11. It is nothing if not fascinating. But it also sounds true to me.
A Question About Those Destroyed CIA Tapes
The prevailing assumption is that the tapes were destroyed to conceal harsh CIA interrogation methods. Gerald Posner suggests another possible explanation:
Re the breaking news that the CIA destroyed the videotapes of interrogations with 2 terror suspects, you might have seen that the tapes of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah were destroyed.
You might also recall that in my 2003 NYT bestseller (reached #2), Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, my last chapter was titled, "The Interrogation." Based on two active US intelligence sources, I was the first to disclose Zubaydah's interrogation. To date, I am the only reporter to have printed the info about what happened to him.
Zubaydah, wounded when he was captured in Pakistan, was fooled in a fake flag operation to believe that the Saudis held him. Instead of being afraid of the Saudis, he demanded to talk to three Saudi princes (one, the nephew of the King, who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11). He gave his interrogators the private cell phone numbers of all 3. He did the same regarding the chief of Pakistan's air force.
After the U.S. told the Saudis and Pakistanis of Zubaydah's finger pointing, all four men had tragic 'accidents.' The King's nephew died of complications from liposuction at the age of 43. A day later, the 41 year old Prince named by Zubaydah died in a one-car accident on his way to the funeral of the King's nephew. The third named prince, age 25, died a week later of "thirst," according to the Saudi Royal Court. And shortly after that, the chief of Pakistan's air force died when his plane exploded with his wife and 15 of his top aides on board.
When my book was published, CIA officials trashed it 'off the record,' but made no public comment. I have always held the same position. There is (or was) firm evidence of what transpired, of whether my reporting was accurate or not. Make the interrogation tapes public and then we'll know whether one of the top al-Qaeda operatives accused leading Saudi royals and a top Pakistani military man--now all dead--of being his sponsors. And accused two of them the King;s nephew and the Pakistani Air Force chief of having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Now, suddenly coincidence of coincidence, the CIA says the Zubaydah interrogation tapes are destroyed. How convenient.