The prisoner known around the U.S. naval station at Guantánamo Bay as Detainee 063 was a hard man to break. Defiant from the start, he told his captors that he had been in Afghanistan to pursue his love of falconry. But the young Saudi prisoner who wouldn't talk was not just any detainee. He was Mohammed al-Qahtani, a follower of Osama bin Laden's and the man believed by many to be the so-called 20th hijacker. He had tried to enter the U.S. in August 2001, allegedly to take part in the Sept. 11 attacks. But while Mohammed Atta, the eventual leader of the hijackers, was waiting outside in the Orlando, Fla., airport parking lot, al-Qahtani was detained inside and then deported by an alert immigration officer who didn't buy his story.
More than a year later, after al-Qahtani had been captured in Afghanistan and transferred to Gitmo's Camp X-Ray, his interrogation was going nowhere. So in late November 2002, according to an 84-page secret interrogation log obtained by TIME, al-Qahtani's questioners switched gears. They suggested to their captive that he had been spared by Allah in order to reveal the true meaning of the Koran and help bring down bin Laden.
During a routine check of his medical condition, a sergeant approached al-Qahtani and whispered in his ear, "What is God telling you right now? Your 19 friends died in a fireball and you weren't with them. Was that God's choice? Is it God's will that you stay alive to tell us about his message?" At that point, the log states, al-Qahtani threw his head back and butted the sergeant in the eye. Two MPs wrestled al-Qahtani to the ground. The sergeant crouched down next to the thrashing terrorist, who tried to spit on him. The sergeant's response: "Go ahead and spit on me. It won't change anything. You're still here. I'm still talking to you and you won't leave until you've given God's message."
The interrogation log of Detainee 063 provides the first internal look at the highly classified realm of Gitmo interrogations since the detention camp opened four years ago. Chief Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita tells TIME that the log was compiled by various uniformed interrogators and observers on the Pentagon's Joint Task Force at Gitmo as the interrogation proceeded. It is stamped SECRET ORCON, a military acronym for a document that is supposed to remain with the organization that created it. A Pentagon official who has seen the log describes it as the "kind of document that was never meant to leave Gitmo."
The log reads like a night watchman's diary. It is a sometimes shocking and often mundane hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute account of a campaign to extract information. The log records every time al-Qahtani eats, sleeps, exercises or goes to the bathroom and every time he complies with or refuses his interrogators' requests. The detainee's physical condition is frequently checked by medical corpsmen sometimes as often as three times a day which indicates either spectacular concern about al-Qahtani's health or persistent worry about just how much stress he can take. Although the log does not appear obviously censored, it is also plainly incomplete: there are numerous gaps in the notes about what is said and what is happening in the interrogation booth beyond details like "Detainee taken to bathroom and walked for 10 minutes."