The World’s Most Classified Vacuum

According to the AP, the CIA allowed 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, to redesign a vacuum. A former CIA official says the project was allowed because they didn’t want KSM “to go nuts.” Amy Davidson comments:

[T]he A.P. noted that vacuum-cleaner designs are passed off as diagrams of military installations in Graham Greene’s “Our Man in Havana.” (“The AP was unable to determine whether Mohammed ever read the famous novel.”) We may never know if there is a message in K.S.M.’s vacuum cleaner or, perhaps more interesting, if it is a decent appliance: the A.P. was told by the C.I.A. that the drawings, “ ‘should they exist,’ would be considered operational files of the CIA — among its most highly classified category of government files — and therefore exempt from ever being released to the public.”

That secrecy may be amusingly absurd when it comes to K.S.M. and his secret vacuum; it is toxically insane when it comes to the mass of prisoners at Guantánamo whose continued detention is a legal mystery.