Top Al-Qaida Suspect Admits to Sept. 11 Attacks
Top al-Qaida suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, according to the transcript of a hearing released Wednesday.
The transcript of a military hearing held last Saturday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was released Wednesday by the Pentagon. In it, Mohammad acknowledges planning the World Trade Center and Pentagon strikes, in addition to other major attacks.
In a statement read at the hearing, Mohammed acknowledges swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and to being "the Operational Director… for the organizing, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 Operation under the Military Commander, Sheikh Abu Hafs Al-Masri Subhi Abu Sittah."
Mohammed's statement then identifies him as the "Military Operational Commander for all foreign operations" undertaken by bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
The statement goes on to say that after Sittah's death, Mohammed became "directly in charge" of "the Cell for the Production of Biological Weapons, such as anthrax and others, and following up on Dirty Bomb Operations on American soil."
In all, Mohammed claimed responsibility for more than 30 plots and activities dating back 15 years.
Beginning with the botched 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the list includes the "shoe-bomber" plot, which put a U.S. airline flight at risk, and the deadly bombing of a Bali resort, which killed more than 200 people in 2002.
The range of the schemes listed is very wide, from "the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul the second while he was visiting the Philippines" to "the attempt to destroy an American oil company owned by the Jewish former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, on the Island of Sumatra, Indonesia."
Early in the transcript, Mohammed's representative speaks for him, in exchanges that mainly serve to quibble with the case laid out against him.
In one case, for instance, Mohammed's representative insists that he "never stated to the Al Jazeera reporter that I was the head of the al Qaida military committee." Then he abruptly clarifies another point.
"Also, sub-paragraph 3-s is false. I did not receive any funds from Kuwait."
Mohammed's representative then clarifies the spelling of his name: "Lastly, my name is misspelled in the Summary of Evidence. It should be S-h-a-i-k-h or S-h-e-i-k-h, but not S-h-a-y-k-h, as it is in the subject line."
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