Khalid Sheik Mohammed admits planning 9/11 and scores of other attacks - Transcripts: Ramzi bin Al Shib -Faraj Al Libi
March 14, 2007
Abu Faraj al-Libi
Ramzi Bin al-Shib
9/11 Mastermind Confesses in Guantanamo
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a string of others during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the Pentagon.
Mohammed claimed responsibility for planning, financing, and training others for bombings ranging from the 1993 attack at the World Trade Center to the attempt by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.
In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 29 individual attacks, including many that were never executed. The comments were included in a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon, which also blacked out some of his remarks.
The Pentagon also released transcripts of the hearings of Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh.
Binalshibh is suspected of helping Mohammed with the Sept. 11, 2001, attack plan and is also linked to a foiled plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport. Al-Libi is a Libyan who reportedly masterminded two bombings 11 days apart in Pakistan in December 2003 that targeted President Pervez Musharraf for his support of the U.S.-led war on terror.
The hearings, which began last Friday, are being conducted in secret by the military as it tries to determine whether 14 alleged terrorist leaders should be declared "enemy combatants" who can be held indefinitely and prosecuted by military tribunals.
Hearings for six of the 14 have already been held. The military is not allowing reporters to attend the sessions and is limiting the information it provides about them, arguing that it wants to prevent sensitive information from being disclosed.
The 14 were moved in September from a secret CIA prison network to the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where about 385 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
WASHINGTON: Top Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to plotting the September 11 attacks at a closed-door US military hearing, according to a transcript released on Wednesday.
Mohammed, a Pakistani, claimed responsibility for the 9/11 strikes and a multitude of other attacks and plots in a statement read by a US military officer representing him at the hearing at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z," said the statement read in Mohammed's name, according to the transcript.
In it, he said he was behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, among other plots, according to the transcript of the session.
Although he did not read the statement himself, Mohammed told the tribunal he wrote it. He also made a long, rambling statement justifying his actions as part of a holy war against the United States.
"What I wrote here, is not I'm making myself hero, when I said I was responsible for this or that," he said in broken English.
"But you are military man. You know very well there are language for any war."
"If America they want to invade Iraq they will not send for Saddam roses or kisses. They send for a bombardment," he said. "For sure I am American enemies."
At one point, he compared Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to George Washington. "He is doing the same thing. He is just fighting. He needs his independence," he said.
The Pentagon released redacted transcripts of the March 10 hearing along with those of two other captured Al-Qaeda operatives -- Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi bin Al-Shibh.
So far six terror suspects have gone before the military panels since the hearings began on Friday on the 'enemy combatant' status of 14 top terror suspects held by the United States.
The hearings are to determine whether the detainee can be deemed an 'enemy combatant.'
Such a designation would clear the way for a criminal trial in front of a US military tribunal.
Captured in 2003, Mohammed is the most important of the 14, who were moved to Guantanamo last year from secret CIA detention facilities overseas.
The presiding officer at one point alluded to a written statement made by Mohammed in which he claimed to have been tortured while in the custody of US agents before arriving in Guantanamo.
When questioned whether he was speaking under duress at the hearing, Mohammed said he was not.
Evidence found on computer hard drives linking Mohammed to the September 11 attacks and other plots was presented against him during the hearing, which was closed to the press.
He is also believed to have taken part in the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, but from the transcript it was not clear whether he claimed responsibility for the killing.
The Pentagon deleted one of the items in the list of 31 operations that Mohammed claimed to have been involved in.
But in the statement he laid out a dizzying assortment of attacks and plots against US, British and Israeli targets.
They included a 'second wave' of attacks on US skyscrapers and other landmarks that were supposed to follow the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The Empire State Building in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Library Tower in California and the Plaza Bank in Washington State were among the targets of the second wave.
He said he planned to destroy the Sears Tower "by burning a few fuel or oil tanker trucks beneath it or around it."
The New York Stock Exchange and other financial sites were targeted for destruction, he said.
"I was responsible for planning, surveying and financing for the operation to destroy Heathrow Airport, the Canary Wharf Building, and Big Ben on British soil," his statement said.
He said he was responsible for assassination plots on former US president Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II in the Philippines, and a plot to kill former president Jimmy Carter at an unspecified location.
The statement said he was behind the bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya frequented by Jewish travelers, and the launching a Russian-made SA-7 surface-to-air missile at an airliner departing from Kenya.
In another plot, he planned to use airplanes flying out of Saudi Arabia to destroy buildings in Elat, Israel, and plotted to destroy Israeli embassies in a number of countries, according to the statement.
He sent several mujahideen fighters into Israel "to conduct surveillance to hit several strategic targets deep in Israel," according to the statement.
US embassies in various countries and US military bases in South Korea and Turkey also were on his list of targets.
He said that he plotted operations against US warships and oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and the port of Singapore. And he planned to bomb and destroy the Panama Canal, his statement said.
An attack that killed two US soldiers in Kuwait and a 'shoe bomber' operation to down two US airplanes also were his responsibility, he said in the statement. So was a plot in the 1990s to blow up a dozen US airliners over the Pacific, he said.