Alleged Architect Of 9/11 Confesses To Many Attacks
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confessed at a Guantanamo Bay military hearing that he planned and funded that al-Qaeda operation and said he was involved in more than two dozen other terrorist acts around the world, according to documents released by the Pentagon yesterday.
In a rambling statement delivered Saturday to a closed-door military tribunal, Mohammed declared himself an enemy of the United States and claimed some responsibility for many of the major terrorist attacks on U.S. and allied targets over more than a decade. He said that he is at war with the United States and that the deaths of innocent people are an unfortunate consequence of that conflict.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z," Mohammed told a panel of military officers through a personal representative, who read off a list of 31 terrorist acts that were either carried out or planned but not executed. According to transcripts released by Defense Department officials last night, Mohammed later spoke in broken English and Arabic, saying, "For sure, I'm American enemies."
Mohammed took responsibility for the attacks on New York and Washington in an interrogation detailed in the Sept. 11 commission's report. But his appearance before the tribunal at Guantanamo Bay marked the first time since his March 2003 arrest that he was allowed to make an extended statement that was not delivered to interrogators.
His capture was followed by years of detention in secret CIA facilities, where he was held without any contact with the outside world.
The Pentagon released the transcript last night along with similar records from two other hearings for alleged terrorists. They were among a group of 14 high-value detainees transferred to Guantanamo Bay from CIA custody last September on orders from President Bush. Each detainee is entitled to such a review to determine whether he is an enemy combatant and whether he should remain in U.S. custody. The hearings may be a prelude to possible charges and, ultimately, military trials.
Mohammed presented evidence, in the form of a written statement, in which he appears to allege abuse. The tribunal president told Mohammed he had received the statement "regarding certain treatment that you claim to have received" before arriving at Guantanamo Bay.
The tribunal president also asked whether any statements he made under interrogation were "as the result of any of the treatment." Mohammed answered: "CIA peoples. Yes. At the beginning when they transferred me . . ." The rest of the sentence is redacted from the transcript.
The other hearings were for Abu Faraj al-Libi, who did not appear at his hearing, and Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly played a direct role in the Sept. 11 attacks. He also did not participate in the hearing.
Mohammed described himself as Osama bin Laden's operational director for the Sept. 11 attacks and as al-Qaeda's military operational commander for "all foreign operations around the world."
He claimed to have been "responsible" for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Richard Reid's attempt to ignite a shoe bomb on an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean in December 2001, and the October 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia.
Mohammed also said he plotted to assassinate several former presidents, including Jimmy Carter, a scheme not previously revealed.