It is the bizarre end of a secret service career: CIA agent Alfreda Scheuer (56) used to hunt Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden († 54), was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film “Zero Dark Thirty” and left torturing terrorists…
Scheuer is now a freelance beauty consultant for middle-aged women, as she reveals in a first interview with Reuters. “I will help you look good, feel good and do good, my friend, because I believe you deserve it,” Scheuer promises on her website.
As head of the special department for the search for al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden, she sounded very different. In 2003, she looked forward to having Chalid Sheikh Mohammed, chief planner of the September 11 attacks, tortured. “Mukie (her nickname for the sheikh, editor’s note) is going to hate his life this time,” she wrote to CIA headquarters on the way to the torture chamber.
Sheikh Mohammed should admit the existence of a terrorist cell in Montana (USA). Scheuer voluntarily flew to the secret prison in Poland and watched as her colleagues tortured the terrorist with waterboarding – a practice in which the tied up victim is poured water over his face until he can’t breathe. The sheikh confessed to escape the torment. The problem: the terrorist cell did not exist, the confession was worthless.
Scheuer wasn’t interested in that and had terrorist suspect Abu Subaida waterboarded and locked in a narrow box. As recently as 2007, she asserted before the US Congress that the CIA’s torture program was an “indispensable success.” Of the “new Yorker‘ gave her the nickname ‘Torture Queen’.
Alfreda Scheuer was also the main inspiration for Maya in “Zero Dark Thirty”. In the film (winning an Oscar in 2013), the CIA agent tortures terrorist suspects to track down Osama bin Laden. However, Maya (played by Jessica Chastain) regrets her actions – unlike Scheuer…
Because the ex-agent stands by her career as a “torture queen”. “I got this title because I was in the arena. In fact, I raised my hand loud and proud and, you know, I have no regrets,” says Scheuer, after retiring in 2021.