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The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11
Ali Soufan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group; Moderated by Lawrence Wright, Author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker

Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Time Zone: America/Chicago
Local Time: Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

What once was secret about the U.S. post-9/11 war on terror is now out in the open, revealed in the restored edition of former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan’s best-selling front-line report, retitled “The Black Banners (Declassified).” In 2011, when the original version was published, the Washington Post hailed it as “an important window on America’s battle with al-Qaeda” in spite of the redactions. Soufan says, “The public can finally read the complete story of what happened in their name after the events of 9/11.”

For this Council program, Soufan will be joined by Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the growth of terrorism, “The Looming Tower.” These two experts in the field of 21ST-century terror will discuss the ways the U.S. waged the war on terror before and after the infamous attacks on America.


Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent and a leading national security and counterterrorism expert, is the CEO of The Soufan Group, Founder of The Soufan Center, and author of The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11 (W. W. Norton, 2020).

Lawrence Wright is a best-selling author, screenwriter, playwright. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His most recent novel is “The End of October.” Wright’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Looming Tower” is the definitive account of the rise of Al Qaeda. In the 2020 HULU series of the same name, actor Tahar Rahim plays FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan. Wright lives in Austin and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


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