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Today's Required Reading...

...Is Jane Mayer's funny, fascinating portrait of "Junior," the rascally skirt-chaser and gambler who is "arguably the United States most valuable informant on Al Qaeda." Here's a snip, from this week's New Yorker:

According to Fadl, he met bin Laden in Afghanistan, where he had gone in his early twenties to fight against the Soviet Union. He testified that he was one of the first people to join Al Qaeda, in 1989; soon afterward, he moved back to Sudan, where he helped bin Laden acquire properties and front companies. At a time when most Americans knew little about Al Qaeda, Fadl provided the jury with a lengthy tutorial, describing the organizations cellular structure and its training camps, where recruits learned how to handle weapons and were taught a militant view of Islam. He characterized bin Laden as a man determined to attack the United Stateseven with nuclear weapons if he could. In the early nineties, he testified, bin Laden issued a secret fatwa at a meeting in Sudan: It say, We cannot let the American army stay in the Gulf area and take our oil, take our money, and we have to do something to take them out. We have to fight them. (Fadl also admitted to a life style that was less than pious. Under questioning, he confessed that, prior to joining Al Qaeda, he had nearly been arrested for smoking marijuana with a friend, on a trip to Saudi Arabia; the friend had gone to jail for two years, he said, adding, I escaped to Sudan.)
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