"KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States—which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills—almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to this intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."
According to official records, Sheikh Mohammed was born on April 14, 1965 (or March 1, 1964) in Balochistan, Pakistan. Some sources indicate his place of birth as Kuwait. His father was Sheikh Mohammed Ali Doustin Baluchi, a lay Deobandi preacher, who moved the family to Kuwait from Balochistan in the 1960s. His mother was Halema Mohammed. Mohammed is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted on terrorism charges for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Ammar Al Baluchi, who is accused of involvement in multiple terror plots.
According to U.S. federal documents, in 1982 he had heard Abdul Rasul Sayyaf's speech in which a call for jihad against the Soviets was declared. At age sixteen, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood. After graduating from high school in 1983, Mohammad travelled to the United States and enrolled in Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. He later transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and received a Bachelor of Science (BS) in mechanical engineering in 1986.
The following year he went to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he and his brothers, including Zahed, joined the mujahideen forces engaged in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He attended the Sada training camp run by Sheikh Abdallah Azzam, and after that he worked for the magazine al-Bunyan al-Marsous, produced by Sayyaf's rebel group, the Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan. In 1992, he received a master's degree in Islamic Culture and History through correspondence classes from Punjab University in Pakistan. By 1993, Mohammad had married and moved his family to Qatar, where he took a position as project Engineer with the Qatari Ministry of Electricity and Water. He began to travel to different countries from that time onward.
One CIA official cautioned that "many of Mohammed's claims during interrogation were 'white noise' designed to send the U.S. on wild goose chases or to get him through the day's interrogation session." For Example, according to Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and the top Republican on the terrorism panel of the House Intelligence Committee, he admitted responsibility for the Bali nightclub bombing, but his involvement "could have been as small as arranging a safe house for travel. It could have been arranging Finance." Mohammed also made the admission that he was "responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center Operation," which killed six and injured more than 1,000 when a bomb was detonated in an underground garage, Mohammed did not plan the attack, but he may have supported it. Michael Welner noted that by offering legitimate information to interrogators, Mohammed had secured the leverage to provide misinformation as well.
Mohammed traveled to the Philippines in 1994 to work with his nephew Ramzi Yousef on the Bojinka plot, a Manila-based plot to destroy twelve commercial airliners flying routes between the United States, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. The 9/11 Commission Report says that "this marked the first time KSM took part in the actual planning of a terrorist operation."
By the time the Bojinka plot was discovered, Mohammed had returned to Qatar and his job as a project Engineer at the country's Ministry of Electricity and Water. He traveled in 1995 to Sudan, Yemen, Malaysia, and Brazil to visit elements of the worldwide jihadist community, although no evidence connects him to specific terrorist actions in any of those locations. On his trip to Sudan, he attempted to meet with Osama Bin Laden, who was at the time living there, aided by Sudanese political leader Hassan al-Turabi. After the US asked the Qatari government to arrest Mohammed in January 1996, he fled to Afghanistan, where he renewed his alliance with Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Later that year, he formed a working relationship with Bin Laden, who had settled there.
Bin Laden and his colleagues relocated their operations to Afghanistan at this time. Abu Hafs al-Masri/Mohammed Atef, bin Laden's chief of operations, arranged a meeting between bin Laden and Mohammed in Tora Bora sometime in mid-1996, in which Mohammed outlined a plan that would eventually become the quadruple hijackings of 2001. Bin Laden urged Mohammed to become a full-fledged member of Al Qaeda, but he continued to refuse such a commitment until around early 1999, after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Mohammed moved his family from Iran to Karachi, Pakistan, in 1997. That year, he tried unsuccessfully to join mujahideen leader Ibn al-Khattab in Chechnya, another area of special interest to Mohammed. Unable to travel to Chechnya, he returned to Afghanistan. He ultimately accepted bin Laden's invitation to move to Kandahar and join al-Qaeda as a full-fledged member. Eventually, he became leader of Al Qaeda's media committee.
In late 1998 or early 1999, Bin Laden gave approval for Mohammed to proceed to organize the plot. Meetings in early 1999 took place with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and his military chief Mohammed Atef. Bin Laden led the plot and provided financial support. He was also involved in selecting the participants, including choosing Mohamed Atta as the lead hijacker. Khalid Shekih provided operational support, such as selecting targets and helping arrange travel for the hijackers. Atef directed the actions of the hijackers.
Sheikh Mohammed was a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, leading al-Qaeda's propaganda operations from around 1999 until late 2001. He confessed to FBI and CIA agents to a role in many of the most significant terrorist plots over the last twenty years, but his interrogators' use of enhanced interrogation techniques has caused some to question certain aspects of his confessions.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was indicted on terrorism charges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in January 1996 for his alleged involvement in Operation Bojinka, and was subsequently placed on the October 10, 2001, initial list of the FBI's twenty-two Most Wanted Terrorists.
As an Example of this the article discloses that although the George W. Bush administration made claims that the water-boarding (simulated drowning) of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed produced vital information that allowed them to break up a plot to attack the U.S. Bank Tower (formerly Library Tower and First Interstate Bank World Center) in Los Angeles in 2002, this has been proven to be untrue. In 2002 Sheikh Mohammed was busy evading capture in Pakistan. Likewise the claim by the Obama administration that torture of Kahlid Mohammed led to the lead in finding Osama Bin Laden has also been shown to be false. According to U.S. Senator John McCain, "The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times... not only did the use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information."
"In 2006, his interrogation summaries were read aloud in the capital murder trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, and Moussaoui was spared the death penalty. Two years later, different Mohammed statements were read in a military commission trial, or tribunal, that led to the release from Guantanamo Bay of Osama bin Laden's chauffeur, Salim Hamdan."
On March 19, 2007, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh's lawyers cited Mohammed's confession in defense of their client.
In Boumediene v. Bush (2008), the United States Supreme Court ruled that detainees had the right of access to US federal courts to petition under habeas corpus to challenge their detentions, and that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 were flawed. A revised Military Commissions Act was passed by Congress in 2009 to address court concerns.
On September 9, 2009, photographs of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ammar al Baluchi were published on the Internet and widely in US and international media. Camp authorities have strict controls over the taking and distribution of images of the Guantanamo captives. Journalists and VIPs visiting Guantanamo are not allowed to take any pictures that show the captives' faces. Journalists may see "high value" captives such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed only when they are in the court room, where cameras are not allowed. But, on September 9, 2009, independent counter-terrorism researchers found new images of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his nephew Ammar al Baluchi on "jihadist websites". According to Carol Rosenberg, writing in The Miami Herald: "The pictures were taken in July, said International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman Bernard Barrett, under an agreement with prison camp staff that lets Red Cross delegates photograph detainees and send photos to family members."
In April 2011, the British newspaper, The Telegraph said it received leaked documents regarding the Guantanamo Bay interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The documents cited Mohammed as saying that, if Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed by the Coalition of the Willing, an al-Qaeda sleeper cell would detonate a "weapon of mass destruction" in a "secret location" in Europe, and promised it would be "a nuclear hellstorm".
In 2012, a former military prosecutor criticized the proceedings as insupportable due to confessions gained under enhanced interrogation techniques. A 2008 decision by the United States Supreme Court also drew into question the legality of the methods used to gain such admissions and the admissibility of such admissions as evidence in a Criminal proceeding.
"The water was poured 183 times – there were 183 pours," the official explained, adding that "each pour was a matter of seconds."
In January, 2014, a 36-page "nonviolence manifesto" written by KSM was declassified and released by the government. The title is "Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo". The document outlines 3 parts, but appears to be just the first section, describing "the path to happiness". The subject writes to his captors and appears interested in converting his wider audience to Islam. The author has utilized cultural criticisms, theological, and historical references to clarify a rationale for Westerners to follow Islam. The notes contain eight books with three Western authors and penciled initials with the date Oct. 31, 2013.
As of 2017, the case is progressing through the legal system.
Mohammed instead drafted a 14-page statement response to 451 interrogatories submitted by Cohen. In the response, Mohammad called Abu Ghaith, a "pious man" and "spellbinding speaker" who, to the best of his knowledge, did not play any military role in al-Qaeda operations and had no military training. Mohammed argued that Western foreign policy has been hypocritical in that it allowed for the rise of the Mujahideen in the Soviet War, but that Western media has since branded the Mujahideen "terrorists" or "foreign fighters." He further claimed that the Taliban’s strict Islamic rule had restored security to Afghanistan in the 1990s. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that neither Mohammad’s statement nor testimony were relevant to Abu Ghaith’s trial, and thus inadmissible.