Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - Capture and Interrogation

Capture and Interrogation

See also: Enhanced interrogation techniques and Black site

On September 11, 2002, members of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claimed to have killed or captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during a raid in Karachi that resulted in bin al-Shibh's capture. Some people have reported that Mohammed escaped, but that his family was captured.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, (about 20 km southwest of Islamabad), on March 1, 2003, by the Pakistani ISI, possibly in a joint action with the CIA's Special Activities Division paramilitary operatives and agents of the American Diplomatic Security Service, and has been in U.S. custody since that time. In September 2006, the U.S. government announced it had moved Mohammed from a secret prison to the facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Mohammed have claimed that the harsh treatment and waterboarding he received from U.S. authorities amounts to torture.

Following the report of the capture, some Pakistani officials say he was immediately transferred to U.S. custody without extradition proceedings, while others said he remained in Pakistani custody. The raid took place at the home of Ahmed Abdul Qudoos, who was also reportedly arrested as an al-Qaeda agent. Qudoos' family told media that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was not in the house, that Qudoos was disabled and had never been associated with al-Qaeda, and that the police conducting the raids did not ask for Mohammed. Other newspaper accounts said that former Taliban officials in Pakistan said that Mohammed was not captured and was still at large.

He told American interrogators he would not answer any questions until he was provided with a lawyer, which was refused to him. He claims to have been kept naked for more than a month during his isolation and interrogations, during which he was "questioned by an unusual number of female handlers".

Under questioning, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed named neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui as an al-Qaeda operative. He later stated that to "please his captors" he gave names of innocent people and Siddiqui’s lawyers believe her name was given under torture but still the US are unwilling to accept its mistake and release her. Four British Parliamentarians called the trial a grave miscarriage of justice that violated the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the United States' obligations as a member of the United Nations, and demanded Siddiqui's release. In a letter to Barack Obama, they stated that there was a lack of scientific and forensic evidence tying Siddiqui to the weapon she allegedly fired.

A CIA document reveals that Jane Harman (D-CA) and Porter Goss (R-FL) of the House Intelligence Committee were briefed on July 13, 2004, by CIA Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt, General Council Scott Muller, and CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson on the status of the interrogation process. By this date, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been subjected to 183 applications of waterboarding. The document states

...the CIA was seeking renewed policy approval from the NSC Principals to continue using the enhanced interrogation techniques.

On October 12, 2004, Human Rights Watch reported that 11 suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had "disappeared" to a semi-secret prison in Jordan, and might have been tortured there under the direction of the CIA. Jordanian and American officials denied those allegations.

CIA Director Michael Hayden told a Senate committee on February 5, 2008, that the agency had used waterboarding on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A 2005 U.S. Justice Department memo released in April 2009 stated that Mohammed had undergone waterboarding 183 times in March 2003.

In October 2006 Mohammed described his mistreatment and torture in detention, including the waterboarding, to a representative of International Committee of the Red Cross. Mohammed said that he had provided a lot of false information that he had supposed the interrogators wanted to hear in order to stop the mistreatment.

In the 2006 interview with the Red Cross, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded in five different sessions during the first month of interrogation in his third place of detention. While the Justice Department memos were confusing in that they did not explain exactly what the numbers represented, a U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation programs explained the 183 figure represented the number of times water was applied to the detainee's face during the waterboarding sessions.

In March 2007, after four years in captivity, including six months of detention and alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — as it was claimed by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing in Guantanamo Bay — confessed to masterminding the September 11 attacks, the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement read Saturday during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. His confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative. He further described his actions and motivations in a composition publicly released in 2009 known as The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations.

According to the "unclassified summary of evidence" presented during the hearing, a computer hard drive seized during the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed contained the following:

  • information about the four airplanes hijacked on 11 September 2001 including code names, airline company, flight number, target, pilot name and background information, and names of the hijackers
  • photographs of 19 individuals identified as the 11 September 2001 hijackers
  • a document that listed the pilot license fees for Mohammad Atta and biographies for some of the 11 September 2001 hijackers.
  • images of passports and an image of Mohammad Atta.
  • transcripts of chat sessions belonging to at least one of the 11 September 2001 hijackers.
  • three letters from Osama bin Laden
  • spreadsheets that describe financial assistance to families of known al Qaeda members
  • a letter to the United Arab Emirates threatening attack if their government continued to help the United States
  • a document that summarized operational procedures and training requirements of an al Qaeda cell
  • a list of killed and wounded al Qaeda militants.

At the hearing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said the computer belonged not to him, but to Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, arrested together with him.

In June 2008, a New York Times article citing unnamed CIA officers claimed that Mohammed was held in a secret facility in Poland near Szymany Airport, about 100 miles north of Warsaw, where he was interrogated under waterboarding before he began to cooperate.

In April 2011, the British newspaper, The Telegraph said it received leaked documents regarding the Guantanamo Bay interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The documents cited Khalid saying that, if Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed by the Coalition of the Willing, an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell will detonate a "weapon of mass destruction" in a "secret location" in Europe, and promised it would be "a nuclear hellstorm".

Read more about this topic:  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

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