tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera January 23, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm EST
@ray suarez news. from washington, i'm ray suarez. ♪ september they had 400 followers. today, there are thousands of people who adhere ladenism. >> a counter-terrorism expert runs an intelligence firm that bears his name that advices governments and corporation >> the only thing they want is a religious war. >> he led the investigations of the the uss cole bombing.
>> one of the biggest mistakes we did after 9-11, we didn't have a strategy. >> he intear gated many including azu bu bada. it put him at the center of the torture debate. he says so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like those used by some at the cia not counter counterproductive counterproductive? >> i don't know what accurately get. >> he wrote a book, "the black banners," which was given the okay by the fbi but heavily redacted by another u.s. intelligence agency? >> the cia claimed authority over the manuscript. i think they try to control the narrative. >> i spoke to ali sufan at our studios in new york. >> you are a guy who has followed terrorism as we know it today, this new incarnation of terrorism since the beginning.
as a result, you sort of know a lot about the islamic state. let's talk about who they are. >> i think it's a manifestation of al-qaeda, the same group as al-qaeda the division took place between al-qaeda as we know it and the so-called islamic state after. the islamic state of iraq sent some people to syria in order to participate in the war, an established branch of al-qaeda and he decided he is loyal to al-qaeda central and that the operation in syria should be syriancentric and should focus on syria and it shouldn't be under the islamic state in iraq which is an al-qaeda affiliate in iraq. >> created a division between
bagdadi and later, the self appointive calif for the muslim world and zawaheri and jawani. a polit took place between al nusra and the islamic state of iraq. as retaliation , immediately issued a state called the islamic state of iraq and syria and later, an islamic state, which means that now zawahere and baghdadi and the whole baghdadi. >> that's why everything we hear that these two organizations are going to join efforts together is just assumptions. >> right. >> there is tee logical divisions now that will prevent al-qaeda and isis to join efforts together because i don't under.
>> when you say there are theological divisions, often, it's easy for us to look at terrorism as something that is centered on the west, targeting the west. and as you studied, this you learned something differently. they believe they are following uslam in its purest form, which is totally ab curt. bid laudin in the geejihad, yes it focused on the u.s., on the west, but it also focused on the middle east. there are many incubating factors that leads to terrorism, that leads to violent extremism, to recruitment. you know, for example, an education system in the middle east, critical thinking you know, women's rights issues. you have economic corruption and political disruptions that makes any system in the middle east, most of -- most of the middle eastern countryies cancerous. >> when you look at what's happening now with i.s. putting
out these videos of beheadings, what is that meant to do? >> it's meant to deliver a message especially a message to the west. groups lie is, groups like al-qaeda, the only thing they want in this world is they want a religious war. they want civilizations, the essential element was a sectarian war in syria. >> brought a lot of recruits from around the world. but we cannot take that war in syria without taking what's happening with the global jihadi movement, the narrative that has been ignored since 2001, and has allowed to make bin ladenism today a bigger force than it used to be in 2001. in 2001, for example, september of 2001, bin laden had 400 followers. today, there are thousands and thousands of people who adhere to the idea of bin ladenism all the way from nigeria to southeast asia. there are many reasons that's making people join. however, to the most part, there is one thread in common between all of these people that's come from about 90 different current
tries to fight in iraq and syria under the ban erps of the islamic state. >> is a belief that they are participating in a battle for the ends of times. >> right. how do you fight people who think that it's a biblical or quranic proportion, the end of time? i asked you this because you table. you intear gated these guys, met them. they challenged your faith and you challenged theirs because you spoke their load process assessmenting, you speak arabic, classical arabic? >> i am a muslim. it was didn't for them to understand somebody like me exists. it was difficult for me to sit and hear someone hijacking a religion that you believe in. i used to argue with them. versus qoranic verse. the concept of war is a very small little percentage of wider things so they decided to ignore 99% of their religion and focus >> right.
>> and put it in a totally different lens and interpretation. what you have to do is counter the narrative. countering the narrative is 2340 something only the united states or the west can do this is where muslim leaders or scholars need to stand up. >> saying we do not support terrorism they run these schools where they can suffer a remarkably suffocating, non-critical education. >> sure. sure. this is why we have to bring all of these nations to the table, you know the solution is regional solution because what's causing this chaos in the middle east today, what's causing these murders in syria and in iraq is basically a vacuum that exists and that vacuum exists because of
happening. >> it's hard to take over a country actually functioning? >> exactly. exactly. sectarianism has been used in the powers. >> the situation in iraq and syria are different now. in iraq, we keep hearing about how maliki and his shiite administration did not allow space for the sunnis and that has fueled this growth. the truth is the sunnis before them didn't allow space for the shias and when the shias took over, they didn't -- they may have done things to moment this. you put out a paper called from buka into bakane. >> buka was a facility where, you know, anybody could get arrested because of activities against the coalition and the iraqi government, they used to take them and put them there in that dettension facility. >> there were a did you say proportionate number of people
loyal to saddam and baathists? >> baathists and islamists. the baathists and islamists met together and we have a new brand of terrorism that has saddam, bin laden. one of the detainees, buka is baghdad e. and if you look at thenu 1, you know e tier leaders, the tier 1 leadership of is, mows of these visits were baathists who met al baghdad e in buka. the oil and the fire got to know each other in buka and we have the new brand, explosive brand of trailer in i.s it was re-branded with baathists giving strategy to us lammic ideal log. >> we worry about these western fighters going offered. >> we have today about 16,000 foreign fighters from about 90 different country tries. but about 60% of them come from
five countries. number 1, tunisia. no. 2 saudi arab i can't and morocco and jordan and turkey. we have to put that number in perspective. >> uh-huh. >> put it in perspective of the regional struggle that's happening around thisese areas and the tension, cultural, religious, comic tensions that's happening and political tensions within these currents trees. >> the within earn ones going over, that's dissatisfaction? >> it is different in the u.k., most of the people that are going to syria, they come from the indian sub continent, for example. in france, most of the people go >> uh-huh. >> if you look at the number 1 reyutment, you know, pool if you want to call it for i.s. is more okayo. there are cultura lifrmingz. there are issues that has to do with political situations in these countries, the arab
spring, for example, uprooted dictator ships around the middle east. until now, it did not provide an alternative that can fill the vacuum and a lot of people are taking add vantsage of that. >> the fighters who go from the west are not well trained as soldiers and you said they can >> yes. >> for our viewers in the west, in what way can these people be dangerous? when they go there, they will get trained. they establish networks with other extremists they bam battle-heartedened. if they come back home, isis or al-qaeda or whatever organization, that they were -- they worked with in syria and iraq will reach out for them and they can utilize them to do attacks. with the technology we have today, a whole issue of peep from the west or from the middle east, or from southeast asia going to fight in syria and building that network 10 times more dangerous. >> are you worried about those
who never go over? gauze is puts out, you know, messages to say committee crimes or do these things in the name of islam? >> sure. those individuals are dangerous. it's very difficult to figure out where they are because individual nature of the threat, the individual nature of the radicalization process and of the, you know, operational process, go from radicalization to being operational is very personal and sometimes very short. however, i think with every threat i look at it as an equation, threat equal intention plus capability. the intention will always be there. you are always going to have people who want to attack us. will they have the capability to do it? >> what our system is decides, the national secure system is designed to identify and disrupt. however, they want to be successful. time.
>> is there a counter narrative that the west can present after 911 we had a set of tactics. they are very effective. these tactics kept us safe. they helped us to after operatives and kilo sam a bin laden, himself, but we did not tackle the ideology. we did not tackle the inc. baiting factors that leads to terrorism. think of terrorism as a tree and it has different fruits in one branch, it's called the shabaab, another boko haram, aqap, so forth but that tree is being fed through a lot of different roots and you need to cut the roots to eliminate these poisonous routes. >>, fortunately, widifferent do. we were not comfortable in
dealing with the issue of religion, not comfortable dealing with ideology because, you know, we have the -- we have our constitutional issues and who are you to say who is radical an who is not radical and who is going to have ownership of a program like this and, unfortunately, we kept the area open for he knew tremists. >> next on al jazeera, what ali sufan knows that the cia doesn't want you to.
called "the black banners." the title is very interesting because when we see on news video of these groups particularly is and many of these groups, military tapt groups, they have a black flag, black banners. tell me the history. >> the prophet says at the end of time, you will have a group they come from horoson a historic every that is iran, central asia. their flags are black and they will bring back islam to the way the prophet wachtsd it to be. they will be victorious until they reach jerusalem bin laden when he declared his war against the united states in the declaration of jihad, he signed a toroson. they would the headquarters of al-qaeda, the leadership stays in horoson. this is what we hear, the
horoson group and there are horoson individuals. >> means those individuals follow the leadership of al-qaeda cents tral. not necessarily an al-qaeda affiliate. those are the black banners. the prophet aged we want on to describe them saying there are individuals who don't have names. they are aliases after cities. you see baghdad e and so forth it is like a quranic or islamic version of armagedon. >> right. >> you see that continuing from osama bin laden to baghdad e. and you see all of the affiliates affiliates around the muslim world. they have one thing in common is the black ban it will . about. >> if anybody hasn't read this book yet, i will give them a good reason to read it. you go to
page 377, it looks like that, all blacked out. what on earth were you saying here that was blacked out? >> just before we want to print, the agency, the cia claimed authority over the manuscript, and they did a lot of redaction information. redact? >> the f.b.i. approved it, three different departments in the fbi, they lookedty book and didn't have one single redactions in the book. >> there appear to be things redacted in the public domain? >> sure. >> a t.v. a answer? >> most has been in public domain, and i think, you know, they try to control the narrative, you know, the redactionses, they come every, you know, specific moments where, you know, the reader will understand the truth about what happened on 9-11, the truth about
better information than you got without waterboarding. you became a bit after poster child for those arguing you don't have to water board. >> right. i mean this whole incident took place in 2002 >> and i didn't say anything. program. i reported to the f.b.i. the f.b.i. said we don't do these kind of things and they pulled the f.b.i. out of the program. techniques. >> yeah. >> i came back and, you know, i continued to do my job. i left the government in 2005 and it wasn't until all of these things with the declassification of the office of the legal counsel memos, i start hearing ail of thesacts by different people to include, you know, the former director of the cia, former vice president of the united states talking about how eit saved lives. they gave examples.
interestingly enough, in one of the memos -- let's pick on padilla, the differenty bomb, you will see that they mentioned waterboarding information that led to padilla and saved the washington, d.c. area from a dirty bomb attack. they say he was arrested in may, >> right. >> so i start noticing that there is a lot of, they claim these things are typos, a lot of typos. there is another declassified memos where they say ranzishid was picked up in january. he was picked up in september. i start looking at these things. i found out there is nothing that's out there about the efficacy of eits, the efficacy of torture that i wasn't waiver? >> right. >> it's not an issue of, you
know, how i view things. it's an issue of facts. these things are recorded in government documents, recorded in our report, reported in our interviews. >> people were simply useing this as a justification as we got all of these results from enhanced interrogation tactics? >> my first hand knowledge i testified is that we get this information not because of the eits, not because of waterboarding and still until today, i don't know after 83 sessions of waterboarding what accurate actionable intelligence they were able to get. yes, zubada admitted he was the number 3 guy in al-qaeda but we knew when we arrested him he was not the number three guy in al-qaeda. all of the information we got from him that was actionable intelligence that helped us to disrupt the plots. >> right. >> or identify terrorists, i believe we did it way before waterboarding and with -- without the use of, you know, that controversial technique. >> were you
frustrated, and you continued to be frustrated by the lack of cooperation between intelligence agencies. can you talk about information that had the cia shared with you about known operatives who were in the united states, the argument, as i read it, is at that maybe prevented? >> the 9/11 commission and one of their main findings if that specific information you are talking about was shared to the fbi agent did investigating the usscole attack, 911 could have possibly been stopped at its early stages. >> your book, you give a lot of detail about interrogation, very young when you -- i think when the uss cole happened? >> 29. affirmativety? >> i didn't attempt to be an interrogator. i am an investigator. part is sometimes to sit down and talk to people. i think two things helped me throughout my career with interrogating individuals or interviewing individuals and
things you do on a daily basis. number 1 is knowledge. you have to do your research, no exactly, you know, who the person is, know the group, know how they function. and you play that poker mental game with that individual. the anywhere 2 is empathy. and it's basically just put yourself in their shoes and what do you think? what do you feel? what do you think that guy did, what they did? and that's the only way you can head. >> how do you have empathy for a takerist? after 9-11, you had two close friends die in 9-11? >> absolutely. it's very, very difficult for me. but, you know, again, i have to keep my feeling outside the door. remember, i am interrogating individuals. i always have to check my feelings, my emotions at the door before i start, you know, before i go to the. you have to think about the facts. you have to think about the law. you have to think about how you
can make people safe. that's my job. my job in that interrogation room is not to be angry, be upset, retaliate against, you know, orrage my friends who have been killed by terrorists. i think i will give them the best revenge when i convince that person to cooperate with me, when i get intelligence with them, when that reason that i am talking to with blood on their hands most probabley will never see the light of day again. >> you actually say in your acknowledgements, you write to john o'neill, the guy who brought you into this whole thing who died in the twin towers and you dedicated the book in large part to him. >> i learned a lot from john. john was a legend in the fbi. john left the f.b.i. just before i went to yemen, just before 911, and we went and we got sandwiches together. i was heading to the airport.
and he was going to clear his desk. and that was the last time you have seen him. so it was difficult to have your meantor, you know, a person that you learned a lot from, you know, killed by the people that you were chasing. >> right. levels. >> it wasn't personal for you in the beginning. it was a mission? >> after 9-11, i believe. for me, after the cole, it became personal. it's very difficult when you pull bodies from the uss cole of sailors, innocent sailors that had nothing to do with anything. they were, you know, lining up to go eat lunch and they died. you meet their families. you meet their mothers and fathers and children and wife. it's very difficult not to take it personal. after 9-11, if there is anyone in this field that tells you they are doing it for the sake of mission and there is no personal, emotional drive, i think, you know, i don't believe
them. so, it became personal absolutely. >> ali, what an honor to have such a good, long opportunity to talk to you? >> thank you, brother. . >> uncertainty in the middle east. saudi arabia's farewell to a king. his elderly successor promises that his u.s. ally that they'll stay the course. in yemen the rebel up rising threatening to tear apart the country. the isil threat. the deadline for two japanese