September 26, 2021

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20 years of 9/11: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: How did the “mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks” escape the FBI in the 1990s? USA | The world

The man was accused of hijacking passenger planes and plotting to smash logos 20 years ago he was waiting for trial.

But can it be stopped many years ago?

“That person is mine.”

Identity: 9/11, the attacks that rocked the United States 20 years ago in the voice of its heroes

Frank Bellegrino was sitting in a hotel room in Malaysia watching television pictures of planes colliding in twin towers.

He first thought: “My God, it must be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed”.

Identity: What do we know about how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were organized?

Both goals and ambitions matched and Bellegrino was in a unique position to learn.

Former FBI Special Agent It plagued Mohammed for almost three decades. However, the accused 9/11 has not yet faced justice.

Mohammed’s lawyer told the BBC it could take another 20 years for the case to be completed.

George W. Bush met with firefighters and rescuers after the attack. (Getty Images)

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was closely associated with the 9/11 attacks.

But he was known as the true Mohammed, or “KSM”, He is the “leading architect”, According to the 9/11 Commission of Inquiry into the attacks.

He was the one who came up with the idea and gave it to Al Qaeda.

Born in Kuwait, he studied in the United States before the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Many years before the September 11 attacks, FBI agent Frank Bellegrino was on the trail of jihad.

Bellegrino was appointed by the FBI to investigate the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

That’s where Mohammed’s name first came to the attention of US officials because he transferred money to one of those involved.

The FBI agent realized the extent of Mohammed’s ambition in 1995, and he was linked to a plot to fly over the Pacific and bring down planes.

In the mid-1990s, Bellegrino approached his man to land and took him to Qatar.

He and his group went to Oman, from where they planned to enter Qatar and arrest Mohammed.

A plane was ready to pick up the suspect. But opposition came from US diplomats.

Bellegrino went to Qatar and told the ambassador and other embassy officials that there was a charge against Mohammed for the conspiracy involving the planes.

But he says they were careful not to cause problems in the country. “I think they thought it might shake the water,” Bellegrino recalled.

Bellegrino in 1987 and 2020.  (Frank Bellegrino).
Bellegrino in 1987 and 2020. (Frank Bellegrino).

Finally, Qatari officials told Ambassador Bellegrino that Mohammed had been lost.

“There was anger, rage and frustration,” he says. “We know this is a missed opportunity.”

But he admits that in the mid-1990s, Mohammed was not seen as a major target.

Bellegrino could not even make the top ten wanted list in the United States. “They told me there were already many terrorists.”

Mohamed received a warning from him about US interest and ended up in Qatar from Afghanistan.

Over the next several years, the KSM name continued to appear frequently in phone lists of arrested terrorist suspects around the world, making it clear that it was well-connected.

It was in these years Who went to Bin Laden with the intention of training pilots to fly pilots Against buildings in the United States.

Then it happened on September 11th. The key al-Qaeda detainee identified him when Bellegrino’s suspicions about KSM’s role were proven correct.

“When we found out he was a guy, there was no one who felt more miserable than me.”

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing killed 6 people and injured more than 1,000.  (Getty Images)
The 1993 World Trade Center bombing killed 6 people and injured more than 1,000. (Getty Images)

In 2003, Mohammed was discovered and arrested in Pakistan. Bellegrino is expected to be brought to trial under the charge sheet he worked for.

But then it disappeared. The CIA took him to a “black spot” where “advanced investigation techniques” were used.

“I want to know what he knows, I want to know quickly,” a senior CIA official declared at the time.

Mohammed was subjected to “waterboarding” – described as “almost sinking” – At least 183 times.

He was subjected to dehydration, depression, insomnia, forced nudity and was told his children would be killed.

At the time he admitted several conspiracies. But the Senate report later found that most of the intelligence alleged by the detainee was fabricated.

Mohammed's information led to a search for bin Laden on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  (Getty Images)
Mohammed’s information led to a search for bin Laden on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. (Getty Images)

After the details of the CIA’s detention plan were revealed, “high-value prisoners” like Mohammed were transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

Eventually he was arrested by the FBI.

In January 2007, Frank Bellegrino came face to face with the man he had been hunting for so long.

They sat at the table facing each other.

“I let him know that I was involved in the allegations against him in the 1990s,” he says, opening the conversation to get information about 9/11.

The former FBI agent did not release details of what he said, but admitted he was “a very interesting guy with a sense of humor, believe it or not”.

During interrogations in Guantanamo, KSM is often seen as a “bomb”, and Bellegrino describes the world’s most infamous terrorist suspect as “Kardashian”.

Do you agree or would you like to take a test? “Of course I think he feels good about what he did He loves the show, ”he says.

After six days of negotiations, Mohammed finally stated that he had had enough. “That’s it,” Bellegrino recalled.

Subsequent attempts to bring justice to 9/11 failed.

A plan to hold an inquiry in New York failed after public and political opposition.

Mohammed in court in 2012.  (Reuters)
Mohammed in court in 2012. (Reuters)

“Everyone in my backyard is yelling at me not to have this guy. Keep him in Guantanamo,” says Bellegrino, a New Yorker.

Then came a military court in Guantanamo. But the delay in the procedure has closed the site linked by the Govt infection, making it a lengthy process.

More inquiries will take place this week, but it looks like the results are far from over.

Mohammed’s lawyer believes the latest inquiries are planned to show the media that something is happening on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

David Nevin told the BBC he “expects something in about 20 years for a complete solution to this process.”

The case was started by a criminal lawyer in 2008.

The original plan was to start testing almost immediately. But they are not even close to starting, and he notes that the newly appointed judge is “the eighth or ninth magistrate we have” depending on how you think.

The judge should have known about Nevin’s earlier investigations and the transcripts of about 35,000 pages of thousands of movements, which he describes as “the greatest criminal investigation in American history.”

That’s it Very controversial.

The main reason for this was that all five defendants were secretly arrested by the CIA and subjected to “improved investigation techniques”.

Camp in Guantanamo where investigations are taking place.  (Getty Images)
Camp in Guantanamo where investigations are taking place. (Getty Images)

It led to discussions of tainted evidence of what happened in the so-called black spaces.

Nevin says the United States “organized and executed a clearly defined plan to torture these men.”

Those methods provide ample opportunity for appeals against any belief that may drag on for years.

Nevin will not reveal details on how to represent one of the worst defendants in the world.

He said his client was initially “deeply skeptical” of being produced by an American lawyer, so it was a long process to get to know each other.

When Mohammed was placed in a top-secret area of ​​the naval base, prosecutors darkened the windows of a van and distracted them for 45 minutes.

But now your customer is kept in Camp 5 with less secrecy.

The Legal Committee is aware of the subtleties involved in the court hearings of the families of 9/11 victims.

At meetings, some family members will challenge attorneys like Nevin to represent the defendants, while others will ask questions about how the process works.

Relatives of the September 11 victims.  (Pool)
Relatives of the September 11 victims. (Pool)

“We work very hard not to do anything to add to the pain and suffering they have experienced over the years,” says Nevin.

Another reason he believes the process is protracted is that it has many more consequences than the death penalty case.

“If there was a government it would have ended long ago I would not have tried to hang these men.

Bellegrino delayed retiring from the FBI for three years in the hope that Mohammed’s military tribunal in Guantanamo, where he hopes to testify, would be completed. “It would have been nice to finish this when I had my badge.”

But the senior special agent left the office when he reached retirement age.

He has looked around the world for clues about Mohammed and now feels a strong defeat and wonders if his capture in the 1990s would have prevented 9/11.

“His name comes up in my head every day, and it’s not a pleasant thought,” he says.

“Time helps to heal things. But that’s it”.

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