Abu Zubaydah fought against the Soviet backed communist government of Afghanistan. He received a head injury during a battle that wiped out his memory. His fellow Islamist fighters helped him remember who he was. To help himself remember who he was, Zubaydah kept a diary.
According to The Black Banners by former FBI agent Ali Soufan, Abu Zubaydah was captured in a raid on a house in Faisalabad, Pakistan conducted by Pakistani forces and the CIA in March 2002. He was flown to another country to be interrogated by the CIA. FBI agents, including Ali Soufan were sent to assist in the interrogations. The CIA’s Counterintelligence Center (CTC) did not believe that the person in CIA custody was Zubaydah and did not come. The local CIA team did not know anything about Zubaydah. The FBI team did the initial interrogations instead.
Zubaydah had been gravely injured during the battle that led to his capture. FBI and CIA agents pretended that they and Abu Zubaydah were US soldiers as they took him to a local hospital. The FBI interrogations continued at the hospital.
Then the CIA Counterintelligence Center agents arrived. Zubaydah was sent back to the CIA prison. He was stripped naked, forced to listen to loud music for hours on end, and subjected to sleep deprivation.
In December 2007 CIA agent John Kiriakou was interviewed by ABC News. Kiriakou said that he participated in the raid that captured Abu Zubaydah. He said that in the room Zubaydah was in when the raid began, Zubaydah and two other men were building a bomb.
Kiriakou said that he was reassigned before Zubaydah was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. He also said that after Zubaydah was waterboarded for 30 to 35 seconds he agreed to cooperate with interrogators.
In 2009 the Obama Administration declassified a 2005 Justice Department legal memo that said that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.
Abu Zubaydah was sent to Guantanamo in September 2006 to be prosecuted for terrorist activities against the United States.
At his March 2007 CSRT Zubaydah said that taking and keeping his diary from him was worse than his treatment by the CIA. He said that not having his diary caused him to have nearly 40 seizures. He said that it was like his child. (Page 25)
At his CSRT Zubaydah said that he made false statements under torture. (Page 24)
In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Abu Zubaydah for prosecution.