Translation of Michael Scheuer interview in Die Zeit (part V)
Part 5 of Die Zeit's interview with Michael Scheuer.
Completed: 01:24 CST.
ZEIT: Mr. El-Masri says that he was tortured. He was in a CIA prison in Afghanistan.
Scheuer: If he was in a CIA prison, he was certainly not tortured. Period.
ZEIT: But he claims that he was.
Scheuer: That doesn't surprise me. Maybe he wants to see some money. Everybody wants that.
ZEIT: He further maintains that a German interrogated him in Afghanistan. How is that possible?
Scheuer: I don't know if that is true. It's possible. Our government and our intelligence agencies do try to help NATO allies. If Germans interrogated him, then that suggests that the Germans believed that they could learn something from him.
ZEIT: How many such cases of European Muslims are there?
Scheuer: Not very many, because the Europeans don't usually cooperate. Therefore we tried to get these people when they weren't on European soil.
ZEIT: El-Masri was surprised that the American interrogators knew details from his daily life. This knowledge could only come from German intelligence agencies. Or did the CIA spy in Germany?
Scheuer: I am certain that such information didn't come from us. If we had information about El-Masri's activities in Germany, then they came from one of the German agencies. And that suggests that it was more than just a rumor or a suspicion that led to his arrest.
ZEIT: What is the future of the extraordinary renditions?
Scheuer: The program is probably dead. Because of the leaks, the revelations, and the criticism. And for those who bear responsibility in the intelligence agencies, the effect is sobering. None of those who ordered us to act as we did now admits it.
The questions were posed by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff.
Michael Scheuer left the CIA in November 2004 after 22 years of service. From 1995 to 1999 he led the unit that hunted Osama bin Laden. From 2000 he was one of the counter-terrorism leaders in the CIA. During his service there he wrote a critique of American anti-terror policy (Imperial Hubris). Within the CIA Michael Scheuer is regarded as someone who "fouled his own nest" [idiomatic expression "Nestbeschmutzer"]. He lives with his family in Virginia.