Guantanamo detainee admits 9/11 role

Received money from hijackers within hours of September 11 attacks

An Associated Press report in the Washington Times today says a Gitmo detainee denied being a member of al Qaeda yet admitted at his status hearing to receiving funds from two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. The AP itself then failed to point out widely publicized findings of the 9/11 Commission:

A Saudi accused of arranging financing for the September 11 terrorist-plot participants told a hearing he got money transfers from two hijackers inside the United States just hours before the attacks, according to a transcript the Pentagon released yesterday. But Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, who was based in the United Arab Emirates on September 11, 2001, denied that he was a member of al Qaeda or that he sent money to the hijackers.

The hearing, held to determine whether he is an “enemy combatant” eligible to be charged with war crimes, was conducted March 21.

Al-Hawsawi said he was told by al Qaeda operative Ramzi Binalshibh about the September 11 plot one day in advance and was instructed to fly that same day from the UAE to Pakistan, where he met Binalshibh the following day. Binalshibh is one of the 14 sent to Guantanamo last September; his hearing was March 9 but he refused to attend and submitted no statement.

Asked by a member of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal his reaction to realizing he was “part of that operation,” a reference to the September 11 attacks, al-Hawsawi replied, according to the transcript, “In the beginning I was surprised by the size of the operation. It was mostly a surprise to me.”

The transcript does not fully explain the significance of the claim that al-Hawsawi received thousands of dollars in money transfers from hijackers shortly before the September 11 attacks, other than establishing his association with them.

The 9/11 Commission stated some of the hijackers sent money back to their financiers prior to the attacks, to support future operations, as the money on hand was no longer needed for the current operation. They also noted that al Qaeda training manuals taught those sent on one-way missions to return unused funds (Ed.–No sense taking cash with them to hell). Al-Hawsawi’s admission directly links him to both al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks. The Commission’s report has been in print and online for more than three years now. I wonder if the AP’s reporters will ever read it.