The prisoner didn't trust his lawyer at the start, refusing even to speak with her. She did what she could to win his confidence, donning a hijab, the head covering worn by observant Muslim women, when she visited him at Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Eventually, he began to ask how his aging father in Saudi Arabia made contact with her, how he could be sure she was not another interrogator trying to extract more information from him. "He asked me the same questions over and over," says Gitanjali Gutierrez. "He desperately sought some means of reassuring himself that I was a real lawyer and would not betray him."
It's no wonder that Gutierrez's client would be worried. He is Mohammed al-Qahtani, the Saudi thought by U.S. counterterrorism officials to be the so-called 20th hijacker, the would-be fifth terrorist on the flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. In a June 20, 2005, cover story, TIME chronicled part of the interrogation of al-Qahtani, based on a highly classified log kept at Guantánamo over a 50-day period in the winter of 2002-03. The 84-page log, available in full on TIME.com showed U.S. interrogators using a wide range of tactics to get him to talk, including sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, forced standing, denial of bathroom breaks, denial of clothing and all manner of emotional manipulations. In the log itself, al-Qahtani both admits and denies working with al-Qaeda. U.S. forces captured him fleeing the battle in Tora Bora in Afghanistan in December 2001. The month before 9/11, he tried to enter the U.S. through Orlando, Fla.--while 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta waited for him in the airport parking lot--but was deported after he became evasive with an immigration agent. The Pentagon contends that over time al-Qahtani, known as Detainee 063, proved an invaluable source, identifying al-Qaeda financial contacts in several Arab countries, describing meetings with the organization's top leadership and fingering at least 30 other Guantánamo detainees as bodyguards of Osama bin Laden.