9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to face trial in 2021

Before and after: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is seen shortly after his capture in Pakistan on March 1, 2003. Right: Mohammed is seen in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in July 2009. (AP)

(by Bob Fredericks, NY Post) – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (also referred to as KSM), the “mastermind” of the 9/11 terror attacks, will finally go on trial on Jan. 11, 2021 at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — nearly two decades after the al Qaeda attacks that killed 2,976 people on U.S. soil.

The judge in the case, Air Force Col. Shane Cohen, set the date — just months shy of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 coordinated attacks…to start selection of a jury comprised of military officers at the war court compound called Camp Justice.

Mohammed and four other jihadis — Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Ammar al-Baluchi, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi — face the death penalty in the case.

The native Pakistani and his co-defendants are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.

Cohen’s order also lays out a number of other deadlines in a case that has been bogged down in pretrial litigation since the five defendants were arraigned in May 2012.

Mohammed was captured in March 2003 in a house in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, along with al-Hawsawi and several other Islamist goons.

In September 2006, the US revealed that Mohammed had been held at a secret overseas CIA prison…and that he was being transferred to Guantanamo.

During interrogation, he:

  • admitted to personally decapitating Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl — an atrocity captured on video
  • took responsibility for shoe bomber Richard Reid’s failed attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean
  • said he directed the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia
  • admitted his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center attack (and talked about other attempted plots that failed)

“I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” he said after being sent to Gitmo.

During his arraignment 7 years ago, Mohammed said that he wanted to represent himself and to plead guilty for his role in the 9/11 attacks and become a “martyr.”

The Justice Department under President Obama initially wanted to try KSM in federal court in New York, but changed course after criticism of the costs and security risks of trying him so close to Ground Zero [as well as the fact that he is an enemy combatant, not a civilian criminal].

Meanwhile, his lawyer said that with multiple appeals expected after what looks like a sure conviction in the military courtroom KSM will likely die before his case is finally resolved.

Attorney David Nevin told The Guardian that an initial appeal could take five years, with a circuit court appeal taking another three or four years, and four years after that, a final appeal to the Supreme Court.

“There’s every possibility that my client will die in prison before this process is completed,” said Nevin. …..

The defendants have also asked for a deal in which they would plead guilty and then cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigations of 9/11 and al Qaeda.

But the Trump Administration has ruled out any plea bargains with the terrorists. …

Published at NYPost .com on August 30, 2019. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Post.


NOTE to students: Look for a “Remembering 9/11” Daily News Article post on Monday, Sept. 9. (Includes first-hand accounts, videos and a timeline). And check out today’s Cartoon.

1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. List the charges brought against Mohammed and the four other Islamic terrorist who will be tried with him.

3. What punishment do the terrorists face?

4. a) When/where was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed captured?
b) Arraign is defined as to formally accuse someone of a particular crime in a court of law and to ask the accused to state guilt or innocence. How many years ago were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four arraigned?
c) How did Mohammed plead during his arraignment? What did he say about 9/11? Why did he make this plea?

5. What other heinous terrorist acts did Mohammed admit to committing?

6. a) What did the terrorist’s attorney, David Nevin, say about the trial?
b) Some Americans say a foreign terrorist who murdered innocent civilians should not be granted the ability to make these appeals to civilian courts, but should be tried as an enemy combatant in military court. Others say they should be tried in civilian criminal court and granted all rights and appeals process that U.S. civilians accused of regular crimes are granted. What do you think? Explain your answer.

7. a) The terrorists have used various delaying tactics, and now asked for a plea deal. How has the Trump Administration responded to this?
b) Do you agree or disagree with this decision? Explain your answer.

8. After Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured, he was interrogated by psychologist James Mitchell. Under “Resources” below, watch a September 11, 2018 interview with Dr. Mitchell as he talks about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Starting at 4:12, Dr. Mitchell says in part that Mohammed and the others should be “subjected to a military commission, found guilty and…executed. We should not be bending over backwards to let them file thousands of motions because justice delayed cheats the victims and the families of the people who were killed in those attacks from true justice.” Do you agree with Dr. Mitchell? Explain your answer.

CHALLENGE: Watch clips from a longer interview with Dr. Mitchell (from March 2017) as he goes into detail about the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (see “Resources” below).


After 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) was captured, he was interrogated by psychologist James Mitchell.

Watch a September 11, 2018 interview with Dr. Mitchell as he talks about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”):

In a March 2017 interview, Dr. Mitchell discusses how KSM confessed his guilt:

and discusses Flight 93 and The Falling Man:

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