Charges Against 9/11 Mastermind and Co-conspirators Amended
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Prosocutors in the case against the self-described mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and five of his co-conspirators have amended the charge sheet against the detainees to further clarify their activities, a senior Pentagon official announced today in a teleconference for Internet journalists and bloggers.
The reswearing of charges involves the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, more commonly known by his initials, KSM, and five others in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense, said during the teleconference.
The other defendants in the “9-11 case” are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi and Mohammed al Kahtani. All of the suspects are being held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
The six were charged February 11 with conspiracy, terrorism, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians and civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and providing material support for terrorism.
Mohammed, bin Attash, Binalshibh, and Aziz Ali also are charged with the substantive offense of hijacking or "hazarding" a vessel.
The charge sheet also named the 2,973 victims killed during the September 11 attacks
In announcing the original charges, defense officials also stressed their intent to seek the death penalty for all six defendants.
Army Col. Larry Morris, chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions, decided to reswear the charges to add clarity, specify where the crimes occurred, and describe how they were committed, Secretary Whitman said on Thursday.
Reswearing charges generally occurs in light of new evidence or legal analysis developments as part of pretrial work before a case goes to court, Whitman said. It’s not an unusual practice, he said, and tracks with an established practice of filing superseding indictments within the federal court system, he said.
The next step in the 9-11 case is for Susan J. Crawford, the Office of Military Commissions’ convening authority, to refer the charges, Whitman said. He compared this procedure to an indictment rendered in a civilian court, with the convening authority reviewing the charges and supporting evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to refer the case for trial. Crawford also must determine whether the case should be capital.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, legal advisor to the convening authority, has completed his pretrial advice and provided it to Crawford as part of that process, Whitman said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.