Alleged Maryland Al Qaeda Operative for Second Wave 9/11 Attacks Pleads Guilty


Khan's plea agreement prohibits his discussing his CIA interrogation and capture. As part of his plea agreement that Khan reviewed with Judge Pohl, he acknowledged that he cannot sue the CIA after his release.

"He was tortured; he was tortured very badly," defense Dixon said after the hearing at a briefing with reporters at Guantanamo.

On two occasions during the hearing, a military censor briefly cut the audio from the hearing when Khan appeared to begin to discuss his detention with the CIA.

When the video feed resumed, Pohl told Khan, "Don't discuss any individual agencies."

During the hearing, Pohl reviewed with Khan that under U.S. laws he can serve his sentence but still be held indefinitely as an enemy combatant.

"I'm taking a leap of faith here, sir," Khan told Pohl.

"Any plea deal and testimony by Majid Khan must be seen in the context of his years of secret, incommunicado detention and torture at the hands of the CIA, and the prospect of trial by an unfair military commissions system," said ACLU senior attorney Zachary Katznelson, who was at Guantánamo to observe the proceedings. "Whether the plea deal permits or restricts Mr. Khan from revealing the details of torture and abuse he suffered in CIA custody is a test of the Obama administration's promise that the commissions will provide transparency."

Khan's family owned gas stations in the Baltimore area where he attended high school. He and his family moved to the United States from Pakistan in 1996 and he graduated from Owings Mills High School in 1999. Although Khan entered the U.S. illegally in 1996, his family was granted asylum July 14, 1998.

According to a federal lawsuit seeking access to Khan when he was in military custody, he applied for legal permanent resident status in 1999 but the application was never granted.

The stipulation of fact released after the hearing asserts that Khan became more radicalized after his mother died in early 2001. The document notes that Khan witnessed the 9/11 attacks from an office building in Tyson's Corner, Va., and that he watched the smoke rise from the Pentagon and became further interested in learning about jihad and the Taliban.

The document signed by Khan states that he traveled to Pakistan in the wake of 9/11 and expressed his desire to fight in Afghanistan: "Nearly immediately upon arriving in Pakistan, the accused offered to work for al Qaeda and was introduced to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

Khan's connections to the 9/11 mastermind are close, the charging document filed against Khan noted, "From about August 11, 2002 to about March 5, 2003 in or near Karachi, Pakistan, Khan worked directly for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ali Abdul al-Aziz Ali and other al Qaeda associates."

Khan's guilty plea may also prove critical to providing witness testimony against Hambali the captured leader of Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist group with ties close to al Qaeda. Khan admitted that he brought $50,000 to Hambali and terrorists in Thailand and Indonesia to finance the August 2003 Marriot Jakarta bombing.

Shortly after Mohammed was arrested March 1, 2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Khan was picked up by authorities in Karachi, Pakistan, and transferred into the CIA's high-value detainee and interrogation program and held at a "black site." His detention remained shrouded for some time until clues from terrorism arrests in the United States revealed his capture in late 2003.

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