recommended reading

Mastermind of 9/11 Attacks Designed a Vacuum Cleaner From His CIA Prison

Daria Filimonova/Shutterstock.com

The man long-considered the most responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been in prison a long time—so long that he appears to have had time to reinvent common household appliances. A new report from the Associated Press claims that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured by the CIA in 2003, was allowed to spend free time working on designs for a new vacuum cleaner.

CIA officials says Mohammed was allowed to indulge his hobby — he actually has a degree in mechanical engineering from a North Carolina university — both as a reward for good behavior and to keep him sane. They were concerned that his long imprisonment might do so much psychological damage that he would no longer be useful as source for information. (Other detainees have experienced severe mental breakdowns as result of their torture and long confinement.)

The terrorist leader had already been tortured numerous times while being held in secret "black site" prisons in Eastern Europe, and his value as a prisoner had been mostly exhausted. But agents also knew he wasn't going to be released anytime soon and he might helpful again in the future, if he stayed healthy.

The project was one of many designed to keep prisoners like Mohammed lucid and cooperative. According to the same CIA sources, he would often hold "office hours" with CIA officers, where he would lecture them about Islam and his history of jihad. He also liked to read books, including the Harry Potter series.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

(Image via Daria Filimonova/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.