The CIA and a secret vacuum cleaner

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the basement of a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began working on plans to re-engineer one of the most mundane of household appliances: the vacuum cleaner.

While the CIA held Mohammed in Romania, he read the Harry Potter series and held “office hours” where he lectured agency officers on various topics.

According to former CIA officials, all this was an attempt to keep Mohammed and other detainees from going “nuts” after subjecting them to harsh interrogation techniques.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about the secret prisons.

That the CIA may be in possession of the world’s most highly classified vacuum cleaner design is but one peculiar, lasting byproduct of the agency’s detention and interrogation program. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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