Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fascinating article about the former head of Jordanian Intelligence

A former CIA officer told me about one sublime pitch: Kheir tracked a jihadist to an apartment in Eastern Europe and handed him a cellphone, saying: "Talk to your mother." The man's mom was actually on the line, telling him he was a wonderful son for buying her a new TV and a couch and sending her money. "The spoken message was, 'We can do good things for you.' The unspoken message was, 'We can hurt you,' " explained the CIA officer.

Like many Arab intelligence services, the GID has a reputation for using brutal interrogation methods, and I'm sure that it didn't get the nickname "the fingernail factory" for nothing. But Kheir's successes in interrogation often came from a different kind of intimidation. Colleagues recall him standing behind a suspect, his voice deep with menace, as he talked of the suspect's family, friends and contacts. That was much scarier than physical violence would have been. He waited for them to break themselves, and it usually worked...

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