>Non-Fiction: The Black Banners

The subtitle of this book is “The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda” and the book’s author is Ali H. Soufan, the FBI agent who was at the forefront of following al-Queda since the early 90s. The book presents a fascinating look at the operations of FBI in investigating and tracking down terrorists.¬† Soufan is a Lebanese-American agent, who among other things is a native Arabic speaker. He has interrogated many of the major operatives involved in the attack¬† on U.S.S. Cole and then in 9/11 plot.

I thought the best parts of the book were the author’s detailed description of his interrogations and how he was able to extract a lot of information from the al-Qaeda captives.

There were two problems with the book that eventually led me to give up reading after about reading about two thirds of the book. First, most of the people he talked about were known by several different Arabic names, and after while I had a hard time keeping track of who was who.

However, the most annoying part was the large chunks of the book were redacted by the CIA and the sections with these redactions¬† were nearly impossible to read. The author discussed some of these issues in his interview in “The Daily Show”

I hope there is a second edition of this book that correct the redactions. The book will be then much more readable and still as fascinating.