A new exclusive investigative story by Jason Leopold, who obtained the long sought after personal diaries of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee captured after 9/11 subjected to a brutal torture regimen by US government interrogators. The six volumes of diaries shed light on Zubaydah’s evolution from computer engineering student to student of jihad in Afghanistan during a civil war in 1991. Leopold’s second installment of his five part series deals with the events leading up to and after the 9/11 attacks, as taken directly from Zubaydah’s diaries. :
Abu Zubaydah clearly knew something big was in the works. Returning from Pakistan in mid-2001,he writes in his diary about an atmosphere of restless anticipation in Afghanistan, which was now his home, “People were waiting for the new operation, which Sheikh Bin Laden announced.” But when the news comes that Al-Qaeda hijackers had killed almost 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, Abu Zubaydah is awed by the scale and audacity of the attacks.
Al-Qaeda had twice struck high-profile blows against U.S. interests abroad — the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the December 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. But spectacular strikes at the power centers of what bin Laden liked to call “the far enemy” was beyond the imagination of even many of bin Laden’s acolytes and fellow travelers in Afghanistan.
“On the 11th of September, a passenger airplane hit one of the giant towers … and people were surprised by something that was unimaginable,” Abu Zubaydah writes 17 days later. “As soon as they caught up their breath, another airplane hit the other tower, so screaming and crying was heard and the surprise was magnified. A third airplane hit the American Department of Defense building (the Pentagon). Then, the fourth airplane tried to hit the White House, but it did not hit the target, so it swerved away from its target; then we later heard that it crashed or was downed in another location, and news kept coming.”
“Happiness was not enough,” he adds. “As soon as the news came out on the radio, lambs were slaughtered, and juice and sweets were distributed for several days. News on the radio reflected American threats and preparation [for retaliation], close to a world war, while we were in a state of elation that God only knows.”