- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
I don’t know how many of you are die-hard fans of HBO’s popular television drama The Wire, but since joining FP in December I’ve become an addict. The Wire is a gritty, realism-drenched look at the interplay of drugs, crime, police, and politics in Baltimore, one of the most troubled cities in the United States.
Being a Wire freak, the first thing that popped into my head when I read Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confession was: This guy is full of it.
Why? In Season One of The Wire, Roland “Wee-Bay” Brice, a top hitman for the Barksdale drug organization, gets fingered for shooting a police officer. He then cops to multiple murders, including several that he didn’t commit, in order to protect the gang.
Might Mohammed be doing the same thing? I don’t doubt that he was deeply involved in numerous al Qaeda operations, including 9/11, of course. The man is a mass murderer. But it’s deeply suspicious that he’s confessing to so many plots—at least 31. Today’s Times story offers the following tantalizing clue:
But Mr. Mohammed interrupted his representative to clarify that he was not solely responsible for a 1995 attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Philippines.
“I was not responsible,” Mr. Mohammed said, “but share.”
But with whom? The obvious guess is Ramzi Youssef, Mohammed’s nephew. He’s currently serving a life sentence for his role in planning the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. But I can’t help but think that Mohammed is trying to protect others here, either from among his fellow detainees or al Qaeda operatives yet to be discovered. Who are they?
UPDATE: It looks like I’m hardly alone in making this connection.