9/11 Mastermind Designed Vacuum

    FILE - This March 1, 2003, file photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 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? The agency officer in charge of the prison called CIA headquarters and a manager approved the request, a former senior CIA official told The Associated Press. (AP Photo, File)


    After 183 waterboardings, a terrorist’s mind can get a little fuzzy. The CIA found one way to keep Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sane and his information useful: letting him pursue hobbies in the hours that he wasn’t being harshly interrogated. So when the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks asked to be allowed to design a better vacuum, the agency said, why not? It’s not clear on just how far KSM got with his plans. According to the AP report, the prisoner, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, was entertained in other ways as well, including with Harry Potter novels, and homework on his al Qaeda knowledge, the completion of which earned him Snickers bars.

    Read it at The Associated Press