Khalid Sheik Mohammed Confesses

The Pentagon has released a report on the confessions of captured al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

He claimed in hearings that began last Friday that he was responsible for planning 29 attacks, not all of which occurred. They include the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the attempt by Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic airliner, and assassination attempts on Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Pope John Paul II. I believe I also heard Shepard Smith mention on the air that KSM admitted responsibility for planning anthrax attacks; I don't see that on the Fox News website at this moment.

This is big news. KSM had been held at a secret CIA prison outside this country and then was transferred to GuantC!namo. We have been hearing laments from various quarters about the poor chaps confined to CIA prisons and Gitmo and how they didn't have all the rights that criminal suspects and defendants have in the United States.

KSM's confession tells us what we are up against. Al Qaeda's leaders are monsters who have been plotting to bring great destruction on us. There is no reason to believe that those not captured aren't eager to continue doing so. Many of our leaders and people are ready to retreat out of Iraq and seem to suppose that doing so will leave us without major problems in the world. KSM's testimony ought to convince them that that's not true. And the monstrous nature of the attacks he has apparently admitted planning suggests that we really do need secret CIA prisons and GuantC!namo. What we are facing is not domestic crime (which is the way the 1993 WTC bombing was treated) but the possibility of repeated attacks with whatever weapons these people can get their hands on.

The mention of anthrax--if it was mentioned--is particularly disturbing. I've blogged about this before and noted that the FBI says it hasn't the faintest idea who launched the anthrax attacks in the weeks just following September 11. Was al Qaeda involved? Or state-sponsored terrorists? If they were, why haven't there been more anthrax attacks? Is it because the sponsors were disappointed that the attacks didn't kill and terrorize more people? So far as I can tell, no one on our side has answers to these troubling questions.

Update: There's a roundup at Pajamas Media.

By Michael Barone