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Woman Military Interrogator Describes Being ‘a Mother Figure’ for ‘Omar’

GUANTANAMO BAY — A youthful-looking woman in a gray suit with long brown hair is known only to us as Interrogator Number 11. She was a military interrogator at Guantanamo Bay who interrogated the detainee she refers to as “Omar” from October 28, 2002 until November 14, 2002. The timeline indicates she was the first interrogator, and certainly the first military interrogator, to interrogate Omar Khadr after FBI Special Agent Robert Fuller queried Khadr in Bagram. The thrust of her testimony is simple: Not only did Khadr talk to her voluntarily, he was personally warm to her.

Far from the picture of coercion painted by Khadr’s attorneys, Number 11 testified, “It was a very relaxed, open, very friendly atmosphere. He smiled a lot. Always willing to talk.” As part of what was called a Tier Three interrogation team, she interrogated Omar twelve times, first in a hospital ward and later in one of 20 interrogation rooms in two trailers in the detention facility’s early days. Number 11 said she was specifically assigned to Khadr because she could be “more of a mother figure for him, and he could relate to me.”

In Number 11′s telling, it worked. She said Khadr told her, “I would rather be with you than bored in my cell … anytime, call me.” She said she never heard a thing about Khadr being in any way abused, and specifically talked about seeing what she called the “Rumsfeld Memos” authorizing more abusive treatment for detainees — and said she specifically forswore using any. In return, she said Khadr provided “detailed information” about al-Qaeda’s training camps, guest houses and chain of command. “He would always say to me his father was fourth in command for UBL,” the military acronym for Osama bin Laden. “He’s met Osama bin Laden. He’s met his wives, his children, at the Jalalabad compound. … He played with his children.”

“Omar,” she said, was a cooperative and talkative interlocutor, even correcting spellings, pronunciation and timelines when she misstated them in her notes or mis-recited them to him. On several occasions, Number 11 testified, she would “not even have to ask follow-up information because he [gave] such detailed information. He was very alert.”

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