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The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al-qaeda

by Ali H. Soufan Daniel Freedman

Soufan worked as a former special agent for the FBI, and this book is a first-person chronicle of his work in the war against al-Qaeda, especially after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. He starts before those attacks though, with the formation of the organization itself in the 1990s and the attack on the USS Cole. He spends the chapters after this preliminary account on the 9/11 attacks themselves, high valued detainees, the final missions leading up to Osama bin Laden's capture, and what he calls successes and failures. In particular, he notes the inefficacy of torture and aggressive approaches. Throughout the book he maintains allegiance to the FBI and USA, and opens with a note disclosing that this is an FBI and CIA approved story, which he "would have submitted . . . . for review even if [he] had no legal obligation to do so. " To that end, names and sections of text are occasionally blacked out. There is a co-author, Daniel Freedman, but he is only briefly mentioned in the acknowledgements. There is no index, but there is a glossary of "principal characters" and a basic bibliography.

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