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Al-Qaida Suspect Admits to Plotting 9/11, Other Attacks

Suspected terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and having a hand in other plots, such as the beheading of reporter Daniel Pearl. Analysts discuss Mohammed's confession.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Behind this fence at the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the long-suspected mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, made his chilling confessions.

    Mohammed, a 41-year-old Pakistani and longtime al-Qaida operative, testified Saturday before a closed-door military tribunal looking at whether he's being properly held as an enemy combatant. He did not have a lawyer, but spoke at times through a military officer acting as his "personal representative."

    In the 26-page partially censored transcript, Mohammed admitted he had sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden to conduct jihad and was "operational director for the organizing, planning, follow-up and execution of the 9/11 operation."

    Later, in broken English, Mohammed added, "For sure, I'm American enemies."

    But he compared himself and bin Laden to earlier revolutionaries, including George Washington, saying, "He is doing the same thing. He is just fighting. He needs his independence. So when we say we are enemy combatant, that right. We are."

    He said he wasn't happy that 3,000 people, including children, died on 9/11, but he compared them to innocents killed in the Iraq war, saying, "Because war, for sure, there will be victims."

    Mohammed also said he was responsible for more than two dozen other attacks and plots, including the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, and plots to kill President Clinton and former President Carter. He also said he decapitated journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

    Mohammed was captured by U.S. forces in March 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He was held at a secret CIA prison abroad, where, he suggested Saturday, he was mistreated. He was transferred to Guantanamo last September.

    Mohammed's confessions could be used against him if he's tried for war crimes at a later date.

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