Handcuffs of 9/11 victim used on al-Qaida suspects

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Handcuffs of 9/11 victim used on al-Qaida suspects
Larry McShane
Associated Press
May. 19, 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The handcuffs began as standard-issue gear for Port Authority police Officer Donald McIntyre, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001.

When the cuffs were discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center, they became a keepsake for his widow.

By the time McIntyre's co-worker began slapping the same handcuffs on terrorist suspects four years ago, the gear that once hung from McIntyre's belt took on an almost mystical caste. advertisement

"It became a spiritual thing," said Thomas McHale, a detective with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who took the handcuffs to Afghanistan while chasing terrorism suspects. "I thought, 'You're helping us down here, Donnie.' "

On Thursday, McHale received a standing ovation when he was awarded the Port Authority's Medal of Honor, presented to those who demonstrate extraordinary bravery in the face of possible death. McHale got the award for the two months he spent in Pakistan and Afghanistan in early 2002, working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The cuffs, engraved with the name "Mac," were collected from McIntyre's widow before McHale headed overseas. By the time he returned, they had been placed on about 70 suspected al-Qaida and Taliban supporters.

Abu Zubaydah, one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, was the highest-profile arrestee to wear the cuffs.

"Before we'd hit al-Qaida, we'd hold the cuffs and say, 'OK, this is for Mac,' " McHale said. "Then we'd kick the doors in."

During his time overseas, McHale was involved in shutting down a biological-weapons lab in Afghanistan, responding to a deadly bomb attack on a church in Pakistan and identifying a number of al-Qaida safe houses.

He told authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan about the officer's widow, Jeannine, and her daughter, Lauren, who was born after McIntyre's death.

"You could see the compassion in these guys' eyes," said McHale, who is from Middlesex County, N.J.
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