George Tenet, Toby Harnden, Mullah Fazal discussed on Jim Bohannon
Oh, Jimbo 1866554626 as we begin some remembering of 9 11 with the story that many of us Couldn't even forget. We were not really aware of what happened at the story of the book, First Casualty, the Untold Story of the CIA mission to avenge 9 11, it was told by a person used to telling such stories. A former foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times of London and the Daily Daily Telegraph. He's an award winning author Toby Harnden with us tonight, and so the team Alpha is there and they They are being pretty successful. But then you write the Taliban hatches applaud with Al Qaeda to hit back. They fake a surrender. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and one of the sort of chilling things about this period was, although it was successful in Taliban regime was toppled, a lot of the sort of complexities and the kind of messy nature of Africa Afghanistan really came through. So that kind of The seeds. Really of of some of the problems that would come in in subsequent years. So yeah, Mazar e Sharif, Um the, um Northern City had had fallen was the first big city too. To be taken from the Taliban. And then it looks like the Taliban were staging a sort of a last stand in the north in Konduz, and you have Al Qaeda units that work that we're working with the Taliban. One of the members of those Al Qaeda units was John Walker Lindh, California And there was a surrender. Brokered, um, between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, and Abdul Rashid cost him and, uh, it turned out that it was sort of an Afghan tradition to not search people properly. There was sort of elements of the honor in the in the surrender. That these Al Qaeda prisoners were not Afghans. They were mostly Arabs, and it emerged later on that many of the prisoners had had secreted grenades and guns you know in in their robes. And Mullah Fazal, who was a notorious Taliban commander who is likely to be helped figure in the new Taliban government. Um it seems that he was the mastermind behind this plot that these prisoners would, um, surrender surrender in Mazari Sharif, while most of the U. S forces And the CIA and the Northern Alliance. We're in Konduz and that they would stage an uprising in the port. And there were other other Taliban units who were moving towards matter. E Sharif and Potentially if it's this uprising succeeded, and it came pretty close. Then the Taliban would have recaptured Mazar e Sharif, and the whole story of this war would have been different. So it was kind of fascinating to be able to put that together. I mean, at the time, it sort of seemed like it was in sort of a random, spontaneous revolved by prisoners. But I was able to establish by, you know Talking to everybody and and research missing. It's great that this was this was a plan to take to take back Mazar e Sharif. Yeah, the the idea that you talk to everybody you're talking to people who do not. As a rule of thumb tend to talk shop. They are not people who tend to run off at the mouth a great deal. I'm wondering how you got all these people to do just that, and the extent to which the CIA itself was involved, either helping or hindering your efforts. Uh, that's good question. Yes. Well, it wasn't easy. I had no, you know, particular in with anybody else, Certainly not the CIA. Um, but I'd always been fascinated by this story for many, many years since I saw footage of favorite Tyson running Through the fort after Mike Spann. His comrades have been killed for clutching a pistol. Um and I eventually tracked David Tyson down. I think it was in 2013. Through. Keep been cited in a in an acknowledgement by an academic in Indiana University in my contact with the academic and you put me in touch with them, and it turned out that David was living in Vienna, Virginia, just a few miles from from where I live now. It's a suburb of Washington for those who don't know. That's right. Yeah. Yeah, let's glamorous than Vienna, Austria. Um, anyway, so I met a I met David in a Panera bread and he was friendly, but he couldn't say very much because he was still serving in the agency. And we sort of kept in touch. You know, he's spending Christmas cards, but you know, there was he wasn't really, you know, emerging to sort of tell a story. But then, um, at the beginning of last year, he contacted me and said, Hey, you know, I've just retired. I'm ready to talk. And so I talked to him and he's a fascinating guy. I mean, a. You know, regional experts, somebody who's sort of really lived. After making life and who's likely sort of about, you know, turned upside down by the event in 2000 and one. Um, but I then went to J. R. Seeger, who was the chief Justin Sap, who was a green beret. He's still serving. And they were sort of semi public and I went to see them and I just I think I built up sort of trust and credibility. They could see that I didn't have an agenda. As I just wanted to find out what happened. And, Yeah, I was worried about the CIA. I was thinking that they might try to hinder me down. They might block me so I didn't approach them until I was sure that I had enough to write a book. Um, And at that point, I've spoken to George Tenet that The director at the time, because the black hand Crumpton sort of senior CIA officers and again I think they realized that you know I was I was serious. And so I contacted the agency and said, Hey, this is what I'm doing. And they helped me. I mean, they didn't open the vaults. I didn't get Documents for the morning. I dare say they're going to take some interviews, and, um, I was surprised and very grateful, because you know some of these people. They're still contractors. It's sort of taken, you know, sort of a vow almost secrecy, and they wouldn't have spoken if the agency hadn't have given them the green green light so that that enabled me to sort of complete research. And talk to really everybody. I think he was involved in this bowl disclosure for those who don't know, and I'm sure many of the audience do, but I had a a top secret plus security clearance and in Vietnam, So I've been on both sides of this particular issue. And I'm aware of the not only the the hyper tendency, let's say to keep things secure, which In many cases is very justified, but also another Tennessee and that is to use the classified stamp to cover your but, uh and that happens on on more than one occasion. I've seen things that were stamped secret. There were hardly more than than mess Hall menus. Uh, I'm sure you've.