Magazine article Newsweek

'Are You Going to Talk to Us?'

Magazine article Newsweek

'Are You Going to Talk to Us?'

Article excerpt

It was CIA agent Mike Spann's last mission. Shortly before Taliban prisoners killed him during the prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, Spann and another agency operative interviewed John Walker Lindh, the California youth turned holy warrior discovered in the prisoners' midst. The interrogation, captured on videotape by an Afghan cameraman and first revealed by NEWSWEEK, is excerpted below.

SPANN (walking over to Walker, who is sitting in a row of prisoners): Hey, you. Right here with your head down. Look at me. I know you speak English. Look at me. Where did you get the British military sweater?

Walker is brought over to a blanket lying on the bare earth. His elbows are tied together behind his back. He is pushed down and sits cross-legged on the blanket, his head bowed, his long hair obscuring his face.

Spann squats down on the edge of the blanket, facing Walker, who is wearing loose black trousers and a black tunic that reaches down to his calves.

SPANN: Where are you from? You believe in what you're doing here that much, you're willing to be killed here? How were you recruited to come here? Who brought you here? Hey!

Spann snaps his fingers in front of Walker's face. Walker is unresponsive.

SPANN: What's your name? Hey. Who brought you here? Wake up! Who brought you here to Afghanistan? How did you get here?

Long pause as Spann looks at Walker.

SPANN: What, are you puzzled?

Spann kneels on the blanket and takes aim with a digital camera.

SPANN: Put your head up. Don't make me have to get them to hold your head up. Push your hair back. Push your hair back so I can see your face.

An Afghan soldier pulls Walker's hair back, and holds his head up for the picture.

SPANN: You got to talk to me. All I want to do is talk to you and find out what your story is. I know you speak English.

The other CIA agent, known only as Dave, walks up. …

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