Alleged 9/11 Plotter Wanted To Design A Vacuum Cleaner — While Being Tortured By CIA

While in a CIA-run secret prison, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asked to design a vacuum cleaner -- likely to keep himself sane.
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    FILE - This file photo downloaded from the Arabic language web site www.muslm.net, believed to have been taken in July 2009, shows a man identified by the site as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The picture was allegedly taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and released only to the detainee's family. Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Mohammed asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner? (AP Photo/www.muslm.net, File)

    This file photo, believed to have been taken in July 2009, shows a man identified by the site as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP/www.muslm.net)

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind captured in 2003, kept in secret CIA detention facilities and water-boarded 183 times, wanted to design a vacuum cleaner — likely to keep himself sane.

    An exclusive Associated Press report claims Mohammed, or KSM, who has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, had been permitted during his 2003 detention at a CIA black site to design the household appliance.

    The story gives a sneak peak inside the life and mind of Pakistan-born KSM, and perhaps more importantly, the thought process of CIA captors who excessively used “enhanced interrogation” techniques — what many consider torture.

    So why to indulge this man’s hobby? Well, what if one day he actually stood trial or decided to cooperate? For that, it helps to be mentally sane. (KSM is being tried in a military tribunal.)

    “We didn’t want them to go nuts,” a former senior CIA official told the AP.

    It appears the project worked, with KSM reportedly in good health.

    You can’t see the vacuum cleaner designed by the same mind that American security officials believe orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, it’s unclear how far KSM got with his project, which likely ended after his move to Guantanamo when the CIA’s Romania prison closed in 2006. The design is part of an operational file, which means it’s highly classified and could never be seen by the public.

    “It sounds ridiculous,” Jason Wright, KSM’s military lawyer, told the AP. “But answering this question, or confirming or denying the very existence of a vacuum cleaner design… would apparently expose the US government and its citizens to exceptionally grave danger.”

    This article originally was published at Global Post.

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