How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq
In the wake of the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the government has rushed to Iraq a new breed of interrogator. Matthew Alexander, a former criminal investigator and head of a crack interrogation team, tells the story of how he and his team used psychological warfare to track down Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The interrogator's job is simple: get the right information in a timely fashion. Finding Abu Musab Zarqawi had long been the US military's top priority—even trumping the search for Osama Bin Laden. No brutality was spared in trying to squeeze information from detainees. But when the Military brought in Matthew the exertions of Special Forces had yielded exactly nothing. So Matthew and his team decided to sit down and get to know their opponents. Who were these monsters so impervious to violence? Who were they fighting for? What were they trying to protect? The intelligence coup that enabled the June 7, 2006 air strike on Zarqawi's rural safe house northeast of Baghdad was the result of a painstaking and dramatic manhunt, but it was not the result of what Matthew calls “force on force” interactions.First featured in an Atlantic cover story by Mark Bowden, this is more of a true-crime or psychological suspense story than a war memoir.
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