The CIA Let 9/11 Mastermind KSM Design a Top-Secret Vacuum in a Bid to Keep Him Sane

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Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheik Mohammed … asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed … 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. … So, using schematics from the Internet as his guide, Mohammed began re-engineering one of the most mundane of household appliances.

It remains a mystery how far Mohammed got with his designs or whether the plans still exist. The secret CIA prison in Romania was shuttered in early 2006, and Mohammed was transferred later that year to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he remains inside a secret prison. It’s unlikely he was able to take his appliance plans to Cuba.

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.

Mohammed had endured the most brutal of the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods and had confessed to a career of atrocities. But the agency had no long-term plan for him. Someday, he might prove useful. Perhaps, he’d even stand trial one day.

And for that, he’d need to be sane.

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“We didn’t want them to go nuts,” the former senior CIA official said, one of several who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the now-shuttered CIA prisons or Mohammed’s interest in vacuums.

So, using schematics from the Internet as his guide, Mohammed began re-engineering one of the most mundane of household appliances.

That the CIA may be in possession of the world’s most highly classified vacuum cleaner blueprints is but one peculiar, lasting byproduct of the controversial U.S. detention and interrogation program.

By the CIA’s own account, the program’s methods were “designed to psychologically ‘dislocate'” people. But once interrogations stopped, the agency had to try to undo the psychological damage inflicted on the detainees.

The CIA apparently succeeded in keeping Mohammed sane. He appears to be in good health, according to military records.

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