Mar 15, 2007
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, admitted to those attacks and numerous others during a U.S. military hearing on Saturday, according to an edited transcript of the hearing released by the Pentagon Wednesday.
In a statement from him, read by a U.S. military representative, he said, "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z."
The transcript continues with the list of operations he was responsible for, including the Richard Reid shoe bomber attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center attack and other attacks that were foiled. (Read transcript (PDF) (http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/03/14/transcript_ISN10024.pdf))
The latter included surveying the Panama Canal for an attack to destroy it and surveying suspension bridges and high-rises in New York and Chicago, Illinois, to bring them down as well.
The list of some 29 operations he was responsible for is followed by a shorter list of operations he was partially responsible for, including an assassination attempt against then-Pope John Paul II while he was visiting the Philippines.
In a later part of the statement, Mohammed likened himself to George Washington as a revolutionary.
The verbatim translation in the transcript is not always clear.
"If now we were living in the Revolutionary War and George Washington he being arrested through Britain," it reads. "For sure he, they would consider him enemy combatant."
He made no apologies for what he has done, but he did express remorse for the death of children in the September 11 attacks.
"I don't like to kill people," he said. "I feel very sorry they been killed kids in 9/11."
Transcripts of two other detainees considered "high-value" by the U.S. government -- Abu Faraj al-Libi (transcript (PDF) (http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/03/14/transcript_ISN10017.pdf)) and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh (transcript (PDF) (http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/03/14/transcript_ISN10013.pdf)) -- were also issued Wednesday. Their hearings were held Friday. The three are part of a group of 14 detainees once held in secret CIA prisons but moved to Guantanamo Bay by President Bush in September.
All three hearings were held at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The three-member military panel hearings, unlike similar hearings in the past, were closed to the media and to the detainees' lawyers because of fears the detainees might divulge classified information, according to Pentagon officials.
Officials have said the hearings would last between two and three hours each, but it could take days or weeks to know what transpired, because the findings must be approved by higher military authorities.
The 14 detainees have been given military advisers but they are offering no legal assistance. Detainees are also given only an unclassified summary of the evidence against them but are allowed to have witnesses called in from out of the country to testify in their favor.
The hearings, called combatant status review tribunals, determine whether a detainee should be classified as an enemy combatant by the president to make them eligible for a military trial.
The hearings for the 14 are expected to last through April, according to Pentagon officials.
Pentagon officials said a total of six high-value detainees have now gone through these hearings. The names of the three others and the transcripts of their hearings have not yet been released.