Suspected 9/11 mastermind confesses at hearing: U.S.
The suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States confessed tothe 2001 attacks andotherswhen he appeared athismilitary hearing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a transcript shows.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed he planned, funded and trainedattackers for 28 terrorist attacks, according tothe 26-page transcript of the hearing released Wednesday by the U.S. Defence Department.
Not all the attacks were carried out.
Mohammed confessed on Saturday at the U.S. detention centre in Cuba, the transcript says.The hearing, which began Friday and is ongoing, is being conducted in secret, with no reporters allowed to attend. The U.S. military is trying to determine whether Mohammed and 13 other alleged terrorist leaders should be declared enemy combatants and prosecuted by military tribunals.
According to the transcript, Mohammed said he was responsible for the Sept. 11 airplane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z,"the transcript quotes Mohammed as saying.
During the hearing,evidence the military has collected against Mohammed in connection with Sept. 11 was presented, the transcript shows. Officials seizedMohammed's computer, which contained the airplane hijackers' names andphotos, and a photo of one of their pilots' licences. Letters from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden were also found.
Mohammed showed some regret that the Sept. 11 attacks killed so many people.
"When I said I'm not happy that 3,000 had been killed in America, I feel sorry even," he is quoted as saying in the transcript. "I don't like to kill children and the kids."
Takes credit for Bali bombings
Mohammed was captured in Pakistan on March 1, 2003. He had been on the FBI's most wanted list since Sept. 11, 2001.
According to the transcript, Mohammedalso confessed Saturday to a slew of other attacks, including the 1993 bombing in the World Trade Center basement that killed six people and injured about 1,000.
Mohammed also claimed to be involved in the plot led by would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid, a British citizen who tried unsuccessfully in 2001 to blow up a transatlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes. Reid is now serving a life sentence in Colorado.
The Associated Press also reported that it had learnedMohammed admitted in a blacked-out section of the transcript that he was responsible forbeheadingU.S. journalist Daniel Pearl, who was captured in Pakistan in 2002. Mohammed has long been a suspect in the killing.
In addition,he tied himself to attacks likethe 2002 bombing of two nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, and failed attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II and Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.
Mohammed said healso thought about assassinating former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and planned bombings of buildings like the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building in New York and Big Benin London, England. None of these plans materialized.
Torturetalks blacked out in transcript
During Saturday's hearing, Mohammed's allegations that the CIA tortured him while he was in custody was brought up. One of the three military officials leading the hearing asked Mohammed if hisconfessions were made under duress.
"Is any statement that you made, was it because of this treatment?" the unnamed official asked Mohammed, according to the transcript. "To use your word, you claim torture. Do you make any statements because of that?"
Mohammed'sanswer is unclear in the transcript, as the military blacked out portions of his response.Later in the transcript, Mohammedis recorded as stating that he gave his confessions without pressure, threats or duress.
The military said it blacked out various sections of the transcriptfor security reasons.
In another section in the transcript, the unnamed military official, who is a colonel, said Mohammed's allegations of torture will be reported for possible investigation and will be considered when decidinghis fate.
On Wednesday, the military also released transcripts from the hearings of Ramzi Binalshibh, who is suspected of helping Mohammed with the Sept. 11 attacks, and Abu Faraj al-Libi, suspected of masterminding two bombings in Pakistan in 2003.
With files from the Associated Press