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Judge to Consider Sept. 11 Suspects’ Confession Offers

The alleged architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other suspects said Monday they would plead guilty to terror charges knowing their convictions would carry the death penalty. A Miami Herald reporter examines the developments.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And to our second legal story, possible confessions at Guantanamo, and to Ray Suarez.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Today's hearings at Guantanamo Bay were supposed to be pre-trial proceedings for five detainees accused of plotting the 9/11 terror attacks. Instead, the judge announced the five men, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wished to confess.

    For more, we turn to Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald in Guantanamo Bay.

    Carol, how did the group of defendants let the judge know they wanted to plead guilty rather than move ahead with the trial?

  • CAROL ROSENBERG, The Miami Herald:

    Ray, we learned today that, on Nov. 4, Election Day, these five men met for about eight hours, and they wrote a note to the judge. They said, "We want to confess." And they made it clear through questioning in court today that that meant they wanted to enter guilty pleas.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Well, these five, as I understand it, include some of the best-known names, if you will, the most notorious of the alleged criminals from the 9/11 attack. Remind us who's included in this group.

  • CAROL ROSENBERG:

    These are the best-known captives. President Bush has referred to them at the White House.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the lead defendant. He allegedly put the plot together on September 11th.

    His nephew, a man named Ammar al-Baluchi, allegedly helped them find training in the United States, the hijackers.

    We also have Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who supposedly tried to get a visa on September — to join the September 11th plot and said at an earlier hearing that he couldn't get a visa to come to the United States.

    A Saudi man named Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who supposedly financed the plot.

    And Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni who supposedly ran the training camp in Afghanistan where the muscle hijackers, the people who were supposedly on the plane, not the pilots, but the people who I would say terrorized and took control of those planes, were trained, in Walid bin Attash's camp. That's the allegation.

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