Bingo in Baghdad

From Daniel Voll’s The Hunter Becomes the Hunted in Esquire:

Clemente arrived to interrogate the suspect, a handcuffed middle-aged man named Zaid, and underneath a napkin on the table, he found a small device, the size of a brick, with a hand crank and wires with alligator clips at the ends. Clemente shut down the interrogation, took Omar for a walk.

“Is that how you do police work?”

“Of course. We torture them.”

“Don’t you try to figure out what they are doing first, and who they work for?” Clemente asked.

Omar said, “No, why should I? This guy is a terrorist — he was going to blow up people.”

“We can flip him,” Clemente said. “Let me talk to him.”

Back in the room, he uncuffed the man. “Zaid, did Al Qaeda pay you to bury the bomb?”


“How much?”


“Do you have a job?”


Clemente pulled out a photo of his children. “I have eight children,” he said, “and if my kids were starving, I would do anything to put food on the table.” Clemente put a hand on Zaid’s shoulder.

“What if I could pay you more money to not make bombs?” Clemente had convinced the FBI to give him plenty of cash to pay informants to make his plan work. Zaid took a breath. Omar gazed at him intently.

“I’ll pay you to tell us whenever you see bad men planning or doing bad things.”

Finally, Zaid said, “How much can you pay?”

Clemente looked at Omar. Bingo.