Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, made a submission to federal court in Manhattan on behalf of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, who is on trial there. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is “an eloquent, spellbinding speaker,” but he did not have any prior knowledge of al-Qaida operations, Mohammed said.
As we reported earlier this month on the first day of Abu Ghaith’s trial:
“[Jurors] were shown a photo that prosecutors said was Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti, sitting side by side with Osama bin Laden the day after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
“In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin said that on the afternoon of those attacks, Osama bin Laden summoned Abu Ghaith and ‘asked him to deliver al-Qaida’s murderous decree to the whole world.’
” ‘While our buildings still burned, he agreed’ to the al-Qaida leader’s request to assume the role of spokesman for the terrorist network, the prosecutor said.”
Prosecutors later showed a video of Abu Ghaith made shortly after the attacks in which he warned Muslims to shun air travel because more “airplane storms” were in the offing.
The Washington Post reports that Mohammed, who is currently detained at Guantanamo, “said Abu Ghaith never received military training and did not know any specifics behind the threats he was making.
” ‘I personally never spoke with Sheik Sulaiman Abu Ghaith about the shoe bomb operation,’ Mohammed said in a statement to the court solicited by Ghaith’s attorneys. ‘Ghaith was not a military man and had nothing to do with military operations.’ ”
Ghaith, 49, was captured just over a year ago in Jordan and quickly extradited to the United States.