CIA let 9/11 prisoner design vacuum cleaner

Thursday, July 11, 2013 | 2:56 p.m. CDT; updated 8:33 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 11, 2013

WASHINGTON — Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner?