ISLAMABAD — They are dead men talking, and they know it. Gulping nervously, the prisoners stare into the video camera, spilling tales of intrigue, betrayal, and paid espionage on behalf of the United States. Some speak in trembling voices. Others look resigned. All plead for their lives.
‘‘I am a spy and I took part in four attacks,’’ said Sidinkay, a young tribesman who said he was paid $350 to help direct CIA drones to targets in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Sweat glistened on his forehead; he rocked nervously as he spoke. ‘‘Stay away from the Americans,’’ he said. ‘‘Stay away from their dollars.’’