Central 9/11 leader confesses to attacks

March 22nd, 2007

Former Al-Qaeda big-wig Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to planning the September 11 attacks. Mohammad gave this confession during a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Aside from the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed also claimed responsibility for the planning, financing and training of others for terrorist attacks ranging from the 1993 attack at the World Trade Center to the attempt by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 29 individual attacks, many of which were never executed. Some of these potential attacks were assassinating Pope John Paul II, former President Bill Clinton and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

The Pentagon also released transcripts of hearings of Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh according to the Associated Press. Both men were heavily involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured by the United States in March of 2003.

He was photographed shortly thereafter wearing a wide-necked white T-shirt, he was unshaven, and his hair messed up.

Following his arrest, KSM, as he is known, disappeared into the world of secret CIA prisons around the world. His testimony during this tribunal is his first public statement since his capture.

He is still considered one of the highest level Al-Qaeda terrorists captured since the beginning of the War on Terrorism. Many people in the United States have protested the ways that the military and CIA have interrogated terrorists captured overseas.

The alleged use of torture is a particularly touchy subject. President Bush insists that we do not torture detainees in custody.

Some controversial forms of interrogation that have been used have been sleep deprivation, playing loud music, and something called waterboarding.

The Central Intelligence Agency has denied it uses torture. “The agency’s terrorist interrogation program has been conducted lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives,” spokesman Paul Gimigliano said according to the Associated Press.

Some U.S. officials claim that KSM may have exaggerated during his courtroom testimony.

“I have never known a criminal –either terrorist or otherwise–that didn’t exaggerate,” said Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and top Republican on the terrorism panel of the House Intelligence Committee.

According to the 9/11 Commission, during an interrogation that took place following his capture, KSM originally envisioned an attack on America far worse than what actually took place on September 11, 2001.

Mohammed wanted, “a total of ten aircrafts to be hijacked, nine of which would crash into targets on both coasts–they included those eventually hit on September 11 plus CIA and FBI headquarters, nuclear power plants, and the tallest buildings in California and the state of Washington.”

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed currently remains in the Custody of the United States at the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.