The 5 accused 9/11 plotters: Who are they?

  • The 5 accused 9/11 plotters: Who are they?

    At left a March 1, 2003 photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. At right, a photo downloaded from the Arabic language Internet site and purporting to show a man identified by the Internet site as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sep. 11 attacks, is seen in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The picture was allegedly taken in July 2009 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and released only to the detainee's family under a new policy allowing the ICRC to photograph Guantanamo inmates, ICRC spokesman Bernard Barrett said Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. Five men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, including the self-proclaimed mastermind, are headed back to a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay more than three years after President Barack Obama put the case on hold in a failed effort to move the proceedings to a civilian court and close the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba. (AP Photo/ Anonymous

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

    Born in Kuwait to Pakistani parents, Mohammed, 46, learned English and attended Chowan College in North Carolina, before receiving a degree at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in December 1986. He was connected to the first bombing of the World Trade Center, in 1993, which was masterminded by his nephew, Ramzi Yousef. In 1994 in Manila, Mohammed, Yousef and others were involved in planning several terror plots, including an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II during his 1995 visit to the Philippines; a plan to destroy a dozen airliners over the Pacific Ocean using bombs made from Casio watches and nitro glycerin in cologne bottles; and the idea of crashing a jet into CIA headquarters. Two plotters were caught, but Mohammed and Yousef escaped capture.

    Mohammed is a man "of great ego and strong contradictions," said CBS News senior correspondent John Miller. In addition to his reputation as a "mastermind" of terror attacks to promulgate Shariah law, Mohammed also attended strip clubs in the Philippines, and even tried to woo a dental hygienist by diverting money for terrorism to hire a helicopter and fly by the window of the office she worked in.

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    Mohammed is believed to have been the No. 3 figure in al Qaeda before his capture in Pakistan in 2003.

    He was held in a CIA "black prison," where he was reportedly waterboarded 183 times.

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    New rules adopted by Congress and President Obama forbid the use of testimony obtained through torture or inhuman treatment. The defendants were held at secret CIA prisons overseas where they were subjected to what the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation techniques."

    Mohammed and the other defendants were then transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in September 2006.

    Mohammed has claimed responsibility for devising numerous plots, including attacks on Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London; blowing up the Panama Canal; striking the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers in Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago; and attacking U.S. nuclear power plants.