Sunday 28 May 2017

9/11 attacker gave the US name that led to Bin Laden

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: questioned using 'torture'
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: questioned using 'torture'

Tim Ross in London

THE mastermind of the September 11 attacks, who was interrogated using "torture" techniques, gave the United States the breakthrough that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was repeatedly subjected to methods including "waterboarding" and stress positions, provided the CIA with the name of Bin Laden's personal courier, according to US officials.

A second source -- also an al-Qa'ida leader held at Guantanamo Bay -- then confirmed the courier's identity under harsh interrogation, provoking an intense manhunt that resulted in the dramatic final raid.

Secret documents disclose that this second source, the terrorist operations chief Abu Faraj al-Libi, played a key role in finding "safe havens" for Bin Laden and lived in the military town where he was finally found.

The killing of Bin Laden as a direct result of information obtained from Guantanamo detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will revive the debate over interrogation techniques in the war on terrorism.

During his time as a fugitive, Bin Laden's communications with the outside world were handled by a network of couriers who carried letters to and from al-Qa'ida leaders.

Using a telephone or the internet would have been too risky, as electronic communications were monitored by the US and its allies. But the CIA disclosed that American spies had been watching Bin Laden's couriers for years.

Attention

"One courier in particular had our constant attention," a senior US government official said. "We identified him as a protege of both Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libi."

US spies learned his name four years ago; two years later they pinpointed the general region where he was hiding. In August, they tracked him to the Abbotabad compound.

Secret US government files on the Guantanamo detainees disclose that al-Libi had several dealings with one key courier for Bin Laden, who may be the same aide that led the US to the compound.

Al-Libi's Guantanamo file, dated September 10, 2008, states: "In July, 2003, detainee (al-Libi) received a letter from UBL's (Bin Laden's) designated courier, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan, requesting detainee take on the responsibility of collecting donations, organising travel, and distributing funds to families in Pakistan. UBL stated detainee would be the official messenger between UBL and others in Pakistan."

In mid-2003, al-Libi "moved his family to Abbottabad, PK and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar", according to the file.

In 2001 and 2003, he arranged "safe havens" for Bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is currently still at large.

Al-Libi's file states that he had several further attempted contacts with the courier and set up a shop front to be used as a "drop point" for the meetings in April 2005, one month before he was captured. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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