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Publisher's Summary

A book that will change the way we think about alQaeda, intelligence, and the events that forever changed America.

On September 12, 2001, FBI Special Agent Ali H. Soufan was handed a secret file. Had he received it months earlier—when it was requested—the attacks on New York and Washington could have been prevented. During his time on the front lines, Soufan helped thwart plots around the world and elicited some of the most important confessions from terrorists in the war against alQaeda—without laying so much as a hand on them. Most of these stories have never been reported before and never by anyone with such intimate firsthand knowledge.

This narrative account of America’s successes and failures against alQaeda is essential to an understanding of the terrorist group. We are taken into hideouts and interrogation rooms. We have a ringside seat at bin Laden’s personal celebration of the 9/11 bombings. Such riveting details show us not only how terrorists think and operate but also how they can be beaten and brought to justice.

©2011 Ali H. Soufan (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Superb. An education. And the best book on alQaeda out there, bar none.” (Robert Baer, former CIA official and New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book if you are interested in terrorism

What made the experience of listening to The Black Banners the most enjoyable?

If you have any interest in the details of 9/11, buy this book now. Very well written. The only thing that was sub par was all the stuff the CIA forced him to remove from the book. The audio book has a lot of redactions, and depending on the part there can be quite a few of them back to back. This is not Ali Soufan's fault, blame the CIA/FBI if this bothers you.

What did you like best about this story?

Very well written. Lots of inside information that you will never get by reading the 9/11 commission report (which i have read twice)..

Which scene was your favorite?

Memories of Ali working with John O'Neil..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • michael
  • poway, Ca, United States
  • 10-31-13

Terrorism, torture and the CIA

Where does The Black Banners rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the top five

What other book might you compare The Black Banners to and why?

A Legacy of Ashes/Enemies A History of the FBI both by Tim Weiner. Both books give you an look into the cultures of the Intelligence Agencies. I know many of the men and women of the CIA risked their lives daily but the CIA bureaucrats cannot continue to lie and coverup their incompetence. As the FBI Agent warned the CIA pre 9/11 that by not providing photos and information on known AQ terrorist in American they will be responsible for the attack. Outrageous behavior by the CIA. Add to that the CIA's torture of terror suspects was the "wrong thing to do" as recently stated by CIA Deputy Director on 60 minutes. Bravo!
Ali was vindicated......

Which scene was your favorite?

Ali's battle of wits with the terrorist suspects....also when the FBI stuck to their guns that there was no evidence/link between Saddam and AQ....even when pressured by the White House....

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The CIA's failure to provide information to the FBI on the 9/11 terrorist traveling to the US pre 9/11, their use of torture and their subsequent cover up. Very upsetting .

Any additional comments?

This is a book about those in the trenches including FBI, and CIA and the military who put their lives at risk in the most dangerous places. Ali stated his case clearly and I hope lessons are learned.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • arizona
  • 07-02-18

Good story, but.....

This is a good story but so much of it is “redacted” or removed it makes it hard to follow near the end. One whole chapter is mainly “redacted passage” or “blank, told blank, blank” it gets very annoying. Overall it’s good but it definitely gets annoying.

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Great with one fault

An excellent book for anyone interested in the rise of Islamic militancy. However, I feel like I'm entitled to a roughly 50% reimbursement for all the ridiculous redactions.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Blank and Blank go to blank. Redacted passage.

This is an excellent book, however some of the chapters are very annoying with all of the redacted passages and other things that are left “blank”
I get that some information is still classified, but seemed like a couple of chapters were mostly redacted, or the names of places or individuals were replaced with blank, which made it a little hard to follow. My opinion is that it would have been better to have left those out entirely and just printed a second edition at a later date.
However this is still a very good book and I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in learning more about what actually happened on and around 9/11.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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excellent and enlightening

makes you think twice about supposed success of the sword over simple communication. Too many times I think we let our emotions cloud our judgement and maybe that's what happened with EITs. I do not know 100% the effectiveness of them or lack there of, but this book highlights proven interrogation methods that have been used successfully for decades without torture. just maybe we should have given them more of a chance before resorting to EITs and who knows what we may have learned and when.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good On the Ground Perspective

Listened to most of the book. The reader was great. I was just hoping for a bigger picture perspective than what is covered in the book and I started to loose interest as it became more like an autobiography. That might be my fault for not researching the book more carefully before buying though. I did enjoy his stories but I just wanted a more textbook style presentation a la “The Longest War”.

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Eye opening

I enjoyed the pace of the story. Even though things were "blank" or "redacted" it was STILL a great story. I was deeply moved by some of the key points of the book. I am grateful that people like the author remained commuted to justice through such turmoil. It was a very good book.

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awesome

enjoyed the book but did not like the manner in which names and passages were redacted.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating insider view

My only complaint is all the redactions. I'm sure they're frustrating enough for print readers; to have to parse all those "BLANK"s and "REDACTED"s by ear is downright aggravating. Looking forward to the unredacted version, if indeed it ever appears, quite a bit.