The Pentagon released a transcript yesterday according to which Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, long believed to be the man behind the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed at a military hearing in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba this past Saturday. He also admitted his involvement in more than 30 other planned terrorist attacks, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
From The New York Times: “Mr. Mohammed, 41, is an ethnic Pakistani who grew up in Kuwait and graduated from North Carolina State Agricultural and Technical State University in 1986. He was captured on March 1, 2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and was held in the secret C.I.A. prison system, where he is believed to have been subjected to harsh interrogation.”
Mr. Mohammed likened himself to George Washington, saying they were both considered “enemy combatant[s]” at one time. He confessed, “I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” adding, “I’m not happy that 3,000 been killed in America” and “I don’t like to kill children and the kids.”
Mr. Mohammed indicated in the transcript that some of his earlier statements to C.I.A. interrogators came after being tortured. But he said that his confession at the tribunal on Saturday was not coerced in such a manner.
The point of the hearing was to determine whether President Bush had properly designated him an enemy combatant. In addition to his confession, some of the evidence supporting his designation included information about the Sept. 11 hijackers, letters from Mr. bin Laden and the details of other plots.