Moussaoui Said To Be Tied to 9/11

Government officials are leaking again. This time its about details of the military's interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh, the roomate of Mohammed Attah who was captured in Pakistan a few months ago.

Officials say Binalshibh has tied Moussaoui to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, alleged to be a senior Al Qaeda leader and a major planner of the 9/11 attacks.

A review of the information provided leads us to conclude that Moussaoui, as he claims, was a member of Al Qaeda but was not involved in the commission of the 9/11 attacks. Still at issue is whether he was involved in their planning.

"Authorities have debated Moussaoui's role in the suicide attacks since Vice President Cheney named him as a possible 20th hijacker a month after the terror strikes. Binalshibh has told investigators that he and [Khalid Sheik]Mohammed ultimately lost confidence in Moussaoui's discretion and decided to use him in the hijack plot only as a last resort, the sources said."

Khalid Sheik Mohammed is still at large. The Government alleges that Moussoui met with him in Afghanistan in the winter of 2000, and Binalshibh supposedly confirms this.

"Binalshibh's disclosures place Moussaoui in direct contact with Mohammed, believed to be al Qaeda's director of operations, who allegedly spent two years planning the terror attacks. Mohammed provided Moussaoui with names of contacts in the United States, and Binalshibh gave him an e-mail address and wired him money to advance the plot, Binalshibh has told interrogators. "

"Binalshibh has told interrogators that he and Mohammed talked by phone in July, and discussed their concerns that Moussaoui was drawing attention to himself, acting in conspicuous ways and talking too much. Mohammed told Binalshibh that he did not have a lot of confidence in Moussaoui and the two decided they would use Moussaoui in the planned hijackings only if they really needed him, and would give him specific instructions at the last minute."

In other words, if Binalshibh is being quoted correctly, and if what he says is true (big "ifs," in our mind), it seems like Moussaoui may have originally been considered for a part in the 9/11 attacks by Mohammed, but his flunking flight school and his talking out of turn made him an undesirable liability to the planners, who decided he would only be used as a last resort. Apparently, they got by without him.

The Government is trying mightily to avoid having to produce Binalshibh for a witness interview with Moussaoui's defense team. Moussaoui has claimed Binalshibh could provide exculpatory information as to him. It seems like the Government is trying to debunk that theory in the media, by putting out details of Binalshibh's alleged interrogation which incriminate, rather than exculpate Moussaoui, at least on the conspiracy charges.

For the conspiracy charges, it is enough if Moussaoui entered an agreement with the others to launch the 9/11 attacks. It wouldn't be necessary for the Governrent to prove Moussaoui actually took part in them, so long as they could prove an "overt act" committed by Moussaoui in furtherance of the unlawful agreement, such as receiving wire transfers of money to be used in the attacks.

But, we're a long way from that point. None of this information is contained in any public court records, just in the media, and it is all being provided by anonymous sources.

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