Breaking the ice with Osama Bin Laden


So Osama bin Laden’s spin doctor has been sentenced to life in prison. Khalid al-Fawwaz operated from a semi-detached house in Dollis Hill, London, and was well known to journalists. He was completely open as he went about his business until being arrested after al-Qaeda declared itself on the global stage with the East Africa embassy bombings.

One of his jobs was to help foreign correspondents meet Bin Laden in his Afghan lair. John Miller describes his trip to interview the al-Qaeda for ABC with no small amount of humour…

Looking to break the ice, I said to the translator, “Tell Mr. bin Laden that for a guy who comes from a family known for building roads, he could sure use a better driveway up this mountain.” Okay, so admittedly it wasn’t much of a joke, but bin Laden’s interpreter appeared stricken. “No, no, no,” I said, “don’t translate, never mind,” waving off the remark. “It’s okay,” I said, trying to prevent an international incident. Not funny. Sorry. Jesus.

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