History Commons Groups

September 8, 2010

What ‘Albert’ Did First

Filed under: Torture and Abuse — kevinfenton @ 3:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

The AP today published a story identifying the CIA officer who tried to scare al-Qaeda leader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri with a gun and power drill by the alias “Albert.” It also mentions that “Albert” had previously worked for the FBI as a translator in New York, as well as other nuggets of information such as the fact he later left the agency and returned as a (presumably better paid) contractor.

Upon reading this, I could not help but recall that we may have come across this guy before in another, similar context. From Jane Mayer’s Dark Side, regarding the CIA taking militant training camp manager Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi away from the FBI:

… Several days into what the FBI regarded as winning al-Libi’s trust, a young Arabic-speaking CIA officer named “Albert,” who had previously worked for [FBI agent Jack Cloonan] Cloonan at the FBI as a junior language specialist, burst into the cell where [FBI agent Russell] Fincher was questioning al-Libi and started shouting at the prisoner. “You’re going to Egypt!” he yelled. “And while you’re there, I’m going to find your mother and f*ck her!”

Mayer says that “Albert” is “young,” whereas the AP story gives his age as 60 (meaning he would have been 51 in 2001), so that’s not right, but the fact that the aliases are identical–and the AP story hints that “Albert” might be his real first name–and the fact that both Alberts were previously FBI translators in New York lead me to believe that both Alberts may be the same guy (and let’s not forget both of them had a penchant for methods that some might describe as overly aggressive).

I had previously speculated that the Albert who threatened al-Libi was Andrew Warren (a young and, apparently, also crazy CIA officer in Afghanistan at that time), but this speculation now appears to be completely wrong. Nevertheless, I am gratified that two of the people we have been writing about have turned out to be not two people, but one person. I suspect that as we learn more about what has being going on, there will be more and more of this.

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