• The Black Banners (Declassified)

  • How Torture Derailed the War on Terror After 9/11
  • By: Ali H. Soufan
  • Narrated by: Fajer Al-Kaisi
  • Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive account of an FBI special agent’s al-Qaeda story, unredacted for the first time.

Widely heralded on publication as a “must-read” (Military Review) and “important window on America’s battle with al-Qaeda” (Washington Post), Ali Soufan’s revelatory account of the war on terror as seen from its front lines changed the way we understand al-Qaeda and how the United States prosecuted the war — and led to hard questions being asked of our leaders.

When The Black Banners was published in 2011, significant portions of the text were redacted. After subsequent review by the Central Intelligence Agency, those redactions have been lifted. Their removal corrects the record on how vital intelligence was obtained from al-Qaeda suspects and brings forth important new details on the controversial use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) to extract information from terror suspects. For many years, proponents of the use of these techniques have argued that they produced actionable intelligence in the war on terror. 

This edition of The Black Banners explodes this myth; it shows Soufan at work using guile and intelligent questioning — not force or violence — to extract some of the most important confessions in the war, and it vividly recounts the failures of the government’s torture program. Drawing on Soufan’s experiences as a lead operative for the FBI and declassified government records, The Black Banners (Declassified) documents the intelligence failures that lead to the tragic attacks on New York and Washington, DC, and subsequently how torture derailed the fight against al-Qaeda. With this edition, 18 years on from the first sanctioned enhanced interrogation technique, the public can finally listen to the complete story of what happened in their name after the events of 9/11.

The Black Banners (Declassified) includes a new foreword from Ali Soufan that addresses the significance of the CIA’s decision to lift the redactions.

©2020 Ali H. Soufan (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Black Banners (Declassified)

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  • Overall
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Magnificent !

A few suggestions for the next addition. When the U.S. Forces were looking for Bin Laden in Afghanistan. It was unclear where our forces were and he was hiding. I didnt how close we were to him. I didnt get his movements to our efforts. This would require another chapter, but well worth it. Some of the acronyms I missed as I was Driving while listening. It might be worth restating them in other chapters. We all miss details when driving. Some cities mentioned I was unclear to their country as well. I dont know the Middle East as you do. Its kind of like reading someone elses interogation before you begin yours. You have a bias assumption of your knowledge. Lastly, thank you for your service to our country. You are a true American Hero.

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One of the Best Books I've Ever Read

It is not often that I struggle to put a book down.

Exciting
Compelling
Masterpiece

3 people found this helpful

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Always wanted to read this

A greatly written book. I am more of a fan of WWII literature but after watching “The Looming Tower” I realized I wanted to be better versed in the history that I grew up in. Ali portrays the truth about our governments mishandling of 9/11 and shares a lot of his experiences that should be known and could shape how our country should handle terrorists.

2 people found this helpful

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The most informative book I’ve ever read/heard.

Ali Soufan is an American Hero. The work he did serving and protecting the United States of America is enough to make him as such.
Writing this book is also a great service to the nation and all who stand for justice.
By shedding light on truth Ali gives us the opportunity to be informed and make smarter decisions how we conduct ourselves as a nation moving forward. And by shedding light on serious mistakes of the past, hopefully those mistakes won’t be repeated.

Black Banners is smart. Excellent content, well written, and engaging. This audiobook performance is also outstanding.

2 people found this helpful

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must read for Americans!

the depth of lies, corruption, ineptitude, and treason by the CIA detailed in this book alone is more than enough to warrant disbanding the entire organization. JFK had it right when he said, "I will shatter the CIA into a million pieces and scatter it to the wind"

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Historically helpful

As a reader I came away with so much more understanding regarding our governments actions,
The false narrative regarding enhanced interrogating techniques, heavy handedness from the White House and their management of the intelligent community and with contractors.
And as a former FBI agent the missed opportunity of not advancing Ali, only to have him leave Points to a dim future for an organization which needs so much character repair. I hope history sees him leading the FBI in the near future.

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incredible

it is an incredible story. sad, riveting and incredible. thank you all for making all this known even to person like me living far far away...

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awesome!

the narrator is easy to listen to, and the book isn't full of redactions. definitely worth it!

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must read

The declassified version that came out I did not read. There were too many blank spaces for the reader to follow. Having a Psychology and History background I am so fortunate to have reconsidered the book now after the redactions were lifted. More evidence to my belief in human Psychiatry and Interrogation.

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Love it

This book gives a good overview of how the FBI and the CIA work against one another instead of working together. It's no wonder terrorists have been so successful.