Mastermind Behind 9/11 Attacks Wants To Chime In On Haspel CIA Confirmation

The mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States wants to weigh in on the confirmation of CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel, offering to provide legislators with six paragraphs of testimony about his interrogations.

Al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed asked military judge James Pohl for permission to share "six paragraphs" of testimony about Haspel with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Mohammed was captured in 2003 and waterboarded by the CIA over 180 times, while Haspel ran a "black site" in Thailand in 2002 which employed enhanced interrogation techniques.

On Monday, Mr. Mohammed submitted a request to the judge overseeing pretrial hearings in that case, Army Col. James Pohl, Colonel Poteet said. While the file is not public on the commissions docket, Colonel Poteet said it consisted of an expedited motion for permission to provide the information to the committee about Ms. Haspel.

The motion, Colonel Poteet said, included an attachment, titled, “Additional Facts, Law and Argument in Support,” containing “six specific paragraphs of information” from Mr. Mohammed that his client thinks the Intelligence Committee should know. After Mr. Mohammed raised the idea, his defense lawyers agreed that the information was important, Colonel Poteet said.-New York Times

Haspel came under fire in March, after reports in the New York Times and ProPublica reported Haspell's involvement in the black site, as well as the decision to destroy 92 videotapes of the enhanced interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaeda leader.  

Mohammed joins Democrats in trying to sink Haspel's nomination, after several Democratic senators have demanded that the Trump administration declassify more information about her role in the program. 

This month, four Democratic senators on the Intelligence Committee — Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both of California; Ron Wyden of Oregon; and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico — wrote to Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, asking him to declassify all C.I.A. information related to Ms. Haspel’s involvement in the program before her hearing, since she, as acting director of the agency, has declined to do so on her own. -NYT

On Monday the CIA delivered a set of classified documents to the Senate, describing Haspell's 33-year career at the agency, "including her time in C.I.A's Counterterrorism Center in the years after 9/11." The files are available for every senator to read. 

“I am not able to describe the information,” he said. He added that it came from Mr. Mohammed himself, not from files turned over by the government to defense lawyers about the treatment of their client in C.I.A. custody. -NYT

The Department of Justice wrote several secret memos during the Bush administration which approved CIA "enhanced interrogation" techniques - including waterboarding.

The memos were later withdrawn, and Congress enacted a law which limited interrogators to the techniques listed in the Army Field Manual. The CIA's internal inspector General found that agency interrogators would sometimes overstep the outlined techniques provided to the Justice Department for legal analysis - while the Senate report concluded that the CIA lied to the White House and other administration officials over the use of such techniques - portraying them as more effective than they actually were.

“The American people deserve transparency regarding the background of a nominee who will be asked to represent them, and their values, around the world,” wrote the Democratic senators seeking declassification of Haspel's conduct, adding, “Without making this information available to the American people, Ms. Haspel’s nomination cannot be fully and properly considered by the Senate.

Reactions have varied, though we were unable to find much support for Mohammed's request from the left: