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Did the CIA just turn the 9/11 mastermind into a super villain called Dr. Suck?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The world is filled with assholes: People who paint their cars matte black, parents who put leashes on their children, Justin Bieber. They come in all shapes and sizes, but I would argue that at the top of the list is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Pretty big asshole, for sure. Well, I guess you could make a case that the Biebs is right there with him, neck and neck. Let’s call ‘em 1A and 1B and move on, because one of them has me very concerned, and it ain’t the little guy from Canada.

Why am I concerned with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? After all, he’s confined to the basement of a secret prison, likely to never see the light of day again, right? Well, reports show he’s been using his time down there to… (gulp) design vacuum cleaners. What the CIA mistakes for an innocuous brain exercise in solitary confinement, I see for it what it really is – step one in his devious plan to be the world’s first real supervillain (minus Bieber, of course). I mean, he’s literally trying to control wind! Why isn’t anyone else alarmed?

You think it’s harmless, don’t you? More harmless than a guy whose primary power is magnetism? Anyone that doesn’t think a vacuum can be a dangerous weapon hasn’t seen enough Michael Keaton movies, and not the one you think.

… the CIA is indulging the request of a highly educated mechanical engineer with a proven penchant for history-making evil to design a “vacuum cleaner.”

So why is the CIA letting this happen? In short, so that KSM can continue to be a useful source of intelligence, and possibly in the future stand trial, both of which require him to be sane. “Any type of prolonged isolation in custody has been known to have a severe impact on the mental condition of the detainee,” Thomas Durkin told the AP. Durkin was the lawyer for accused al-Qaida terrorist/fellow detainee in Poland, Ramzi Binalshibh, so he might know a thing or two about the subject.

After the CIA prison where KSM was being held in Poland was closed in September 2003, he was moved to a black site in Bucharest code-named “Britelite,” which even sounds like it came from a comic book, doesn’t it?

Lest you think Britelite is some sort of happy camp for terrorist detainees, the CIA didn’t just immediately indulge KSM’s vacuum-building whims right off the bat. According to the AP, they initially tried to keep him mentally engaged by assigning “homework” about al-Qaida. Then they gave him books – apparently the brains behind the worst terrorist attack in American history particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter series.

But KSM’s intellect is too large to be satisfied with such trivialities. After all, this isn’t some uneducated soldier our army picked up in the desert. Before he was trying to kill us all, he received a degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T. Other notable NCA&T alums? The Reverend Jesse Jackson and former host of BET’s 106 and Park, Terrence J. Go Aggies!

So, to recap, the CIA is indulging the request of a highly educated mechanical engineer with a proven penchant for history-making evil to design a “vacuum cleaner.” Am I the only one who thinks we’re underestimating this guy? It’s not like it would be the first time a brilliant engineer was captured and held prisoner as he told his captors he was building one thing while actually building something entirely different – or did no one else see Iron Man? If not, you should. It’s amazing. I mean, the second one was so-so, but the third one was much better. Anyway, sorry. Back to the real world.

justin bieberIt’s seems pretty obvious that KSM is pulling a Tony Stark, but in this case we’re not talking about an amazing heart-saving device so powerful it can also power a totally awesome robo-suit. No, I’ll bet the rights to the sequel that what he’s really designing is something closer to Spider Man’s old nemesis Doctor Octopus, only instead of independently intelligent tentacles with relentless gripping power, KSM’s will have the ability to suck law enforcement and caped do-gooders into an impenetrable canister. I’m not saying he didn’t spend his time at good ole A&T sunbathing on the quad between keg stands and lines of blow – I’m saying it was the 80s, and even future super villains were sunbathing on the quad and doing lines of blow while mastering their evils skills.

Maybe I’m just overreacting. Maybe these are all just funny coincidences I’ve elevated in my mind during a summer loaded with comic book-inspired big blockbuster movies. But I’d sure feel better about it if the CIA didn’t treat his so-called “vacuum design” as if it was the launch code for our nuclear arsenal.

After the AP filed a Freedom on Information Act request to see KSM’s vacuum cleaner designs, the CIA wouldn’t even confirm they existed but pointed out that, if they did, they would be considered “operational files,” which are among the most highly classified documents in government and are exempt from ever being released to the public.

Oh, hell no! It’s goin’ down people! There’s only way to beat a super villain. We need a superhero. Who’s courageous enough to go head to head with this guy? Who will step up to the challenge and solve a problem others are too happy to ignore, before it’s too late?

This guy, that’s who.

Peter Soldinger
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Peter Soldinger is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter for film and television with a passion for sports and a contentious…
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