tv Q A CSPAN May 16, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
>> next, "q &a and live at 7:00 a.m., your calls and comments on "washington journal." the operation that killed osama bin laden has reignited the debate over cia interrogation methods. the american enterprise institute hosted a discussion on the effectiveness of enhanced terror "-- interrogation techniques. former attorney general michael mukasey will take part live today. >> this week on "q&a," author and investigative journalist, richard miniter. his latest book is called "mastermind: the many faces of the 9/11 architect, khalid sheikh mohammed."
>> richard miniter, author of "mastermind." what is it? >> "mastermind" is the first book to look at the life of khalid sheikh mohammed, the man who planned the 9/11 attacks and all of the other major al qaeda attacks that you've heard about, he's the deadly brains behind al qaeda. he's what made al qaeda much more lethal. before he was captured, when he first joined al qaeda, they were killing dozens at a time. as soon as he got into senior leadership, they began killing hundreds and then thousands at a time. after he was captured in march 2003, the lethality of al qaeda fell. this is a guy that really mattered and understanding him is about understanding the future of the war on terror. now that bin laden is dead, this is what we have to fear, the terrorist entrepreneurs like khalid sheikh mohammed. >> when did you start this book? >> about two years ago. the question had been on my mind since 9/11, how do people
become terrorists. educated, successful people at the top of their society. 2/3 of al qaeda are college graduates with advanced degrees so they're the best from their society from an educational point of view. how do these people become transformed, what series of choices do they make to become terrorists, to kill hundreds of thousands of other people. that was the question i was interested in and instead of doing a sociological track, i decided to look at one man, khalid sheikh mohammed, who do the 9/11 bombings, the attack of the cole, the bali bombings and so on. >> did he kill with his own hands dan pearl? >> yes, "wall street journal" reported that daniel pearl was killed by khalid sheikh mohammed and i learned that one of the main reasons he did it had nothing to do with ideology. after 9/11, he was holed up in pakistan and he had a new nickname inside al qaeda,
k.f.c., kentucky fried chicken. he ate buckets of the stuff and ballooned up from 140 pounds, at 5'4", to more than 200 pounds. so there was a lot of ribbing inside al qaeda about the fact that he was like jabba the hutt in girth. he was not deadly, he thought. when he heard about the "wall street journal" reporter being kidnapped, he bought him from his captor and brought a film crew to where he was being held and personally cut off his head. he did it for ego and pride and to show he was tough. >> it took me a while but i found the video on the web. it doesn't hit you right away when i tried to find it. i read that, somewhere, this georgetown group, the students that studied the whole murder,
found, i guess they found information, maybe you found the information, comparing the veins in his hand to khalid sheikh mohammed. first of all where, is he today? >> khalid sheikh mohammed is now in camp seven at guantanamo. >> and when did they prove he was the murderer? i don't mean the georgetown kids, but when did the government prove that? >> technically the government hasn't proved it. they're still ongoing charges and he hasn't faced trial yet. >> has he admitted it? >> he has admitted it repeatedly and the video on the web compares his veins in his hands to the killer's knife. there are also larger videos that were seen in the middle east that show more of the outtakes and stuff and khalid sheikh mohammed is clearly all over it. >> want to put his picture, a picture everybody has probably seen. where was that picture taken and when? >> that picture was taken the night he was captured in late february, early march, 2003.
he was staying at the home of a prominent microbiologist, famous guy in pakistan. his wife was -- the microbiologist's wife was the head of the largest political party in pakistan and he was asleep in a spare bedroom at 2:00 a.m. when c.i.a., paramilitary, special forces and pakistanis burst in on him. >> where is he today? >> and today he's at camp seven in guantanamo bay, cuba, under the protection of the u.s. navy. >> i have to tell you that the most interesting chapter in this book to me was his north carolina experience. if you don't mind, i'd like to get you to talk about that. >> i'd be happy to. >> when did he come to this country first? >> his first trip to the united states is 1984 and he really didn't understand much about our country. the -- i talked to the man who picked him up from the airport. and one of the things he remembers -- this is the dean of the college in murfreesboro,
north carolina, is him looking out the window and being surprised to see people sitting on their front lawn. that doesn't happen in the middle east. in the middle east, people are behind walls and windows are small but the idea of sitting in the sunshine in front of a major highway is something you see all over the american south, just struck him as bizarre. and of course, the greenery, the lushness of the country, the fact that poor people, rich people, people of all classes have trees and grass was very different from what he experienced in kuwait so the environment was different and the culture was very different. >> where was he born? >> he was born in kuwait, outside of kuwait city in kuwait. >> parents, what did they do? >> his parents came from the mountains of iran in a region called balochistan. their land is divided into afghanistan, iran and pakistan
and they've fought the leaders of all three of those countries at different times trying to get independence. his father came in 1950, i think, or 1951, to kuwait. the records are sparse on this. and his mother followed shortly thereafter. they had a number of children, at least four in front of khalid sheikh mohammed. his father died when he was very young and there was no welfare at the time in the 1960's and 1970's in kuwait so his mother had to take any job she could get so she washed the bodies of the dead before burial. >> why did he come to north carolina to the college. why did he come? >> he came for two reasons. one was that the english language standards were lax and his english was poor. he was very good at science and math but his english wasn't up to par so he looked for a college with a weak entrance exam. and if you look at the pattern
of arab foreign students, they're different from other kinds of foreign students such as indians or japanese or what have you. arabs tend to follow social networks much more than other foreign students so the fact that a few other arabs had gone there, people he had been related to or knew of had been there before made a big difference to him. >> you talk in your book about the muslim community in north carolina. why, back in 1984, were there other communities with muslims? >> there were transfer students, quite a few, and then there were some arabs that fled the lebanese involve war or other developments in the arab world and settled in north carolina. there was also a great demand for technical jobs in the research triangle area that drew some of them in, as well. >> how much of a muslim follower was he in those days? >> apparently very severe. he would go to burger king and order burgers without the meat and make a show of eating it without the meat and you would ask him why and he would say i can't be sure the beef was prepared to islamic standards of purity.
he was part of a group known as the mullah telling other foreign students not to wear shorts, not to cover their ankles with socks, all of these fine points of dress and behavior. obviously, no alcohol, no pork. >> chowan is southern baptist school, still is. why would someone who is a muslim and religious, come to a baptist school? >> affordable tuition, other arabs had been there before, and lax english requirements. about a quarter of his class was foreign. so maybe it was a little easier for him to fit in. the interesting thing and i can't find anybody to give me a good account of this, he was required to attend chapel and that was mostly a lecture and sometimes music. he was supposed to attend chapel with the other students. according to records, he did so, but he never objected.
i looked at a number of former classmates and professors, anyone who might have a recollection but no one remembers him objecting. >> here's a picture of a man you met down there. what's his name? >> that's garth. there he is in his classroom where he's taught for more than 30 years. >> did you take that picture? >> i think i did. yes, i did. >> when did you meet him and what did you learn from him? >> garth vale taught chemistry and taught khalid sheikh mohammed and is the only professor there that has a vivid memory of khalid sheikh mohammed. very organized man. he teaches in a suit. he was professor of the year last year and interesting, devoted man, leading a careful life that's affecting hundreds of students a year. >> what's he remember from khalid sheikh mohammed? >> he remembers him as a good student who had very poor
english. he never had any political discussions with him or religious debates, for that matter. it was -- but he remembers him as someone with a very orderly mind and unfortunately, an orderly mind can be put to good or evil and in this kiss, it was put to evil. >> how big is he? >> he's about 5'4" and i don't know what his current weight is but he gets double meals at guantanamo so i'm assuming he's in the 200-pound range. >> when you went to chowan, what else did you do while you were there? did you find anybody else that had heard of him? >> it was hard. i went through the school library and went through the year books. he was invisible in the yearbooks. i talked to other professors, i talked to deans. the dean that picked him up from the airport, i saw him in another city in north carolina. and it's interesting. chowan made a budgetary choice. they were running short of students.
they were really financially in jeopardy. and so they began admitting more foreign students thinking they wouldn't have to give them as much aid but ultimately i think it started to change the character of the college, in some good ways and in some bad ones. >> you say in your book that he paid his tuition several months before he got there. was that unusual? >> as a reporter, one of my instincts is to follow the money and he -- so i went and looked and got some extraordinary access from the school, i must say, to look at the financial records, and that's when i discovered that he paid in advance for an entire semester's tuition, a month before he arrived. also, his visa application, which the college had a copy of, mentions a private sponsor but there's no idea who that private sponsor must be. his family was so poor in kuwait, they didn't have a telephone. they didn't have a rich uncle so it makes you wonder who the private sponsor might be. >> how long did he stay at chowan?
>> one semester. >> then what? >> he transferred to north carolina a&t, the alma mater of jesse jackson and ronald mcnair, the astronaut. >> how long did he stay there? >> he graduated in may or june 1986 with a degree in engineering, about three years. >> what did he study? >> engineering but he also took chemistry and other hard sciences. >> did you find anyone there who remembered him? >> i found a number of people who did, some spoke on and off the record. the former muslim students who are now professionals in the area had the most vivid memory of him. they remember him as a comedian. he loved something called the friday tonight show where he would be a cast member in this informal student group where he would be a stand-up comic and do routines impersonating arab leaders and personalities. he was very popular. >> you talked to an imam. was that off the record?
>> it was very security purposes. there's a lot of hesitation for them to talk outside of their community and the repercussions that might be. i must say, having spent a lot of time with this imam, if he would be public, he could be a bridge of understanding, someone who understands both american life and islam could be beneficial to the country. >> what else did you learn from him? >> i learned a lot about the interior life of khalid sheikh mohammed and about his family. this imam had spent a lot of time with him and with his extended family, knew him both from kuwait days and as a student, and had an idea of the intellectual forces shaping k.s.m. and i learned of his driving record. khalid sheikh mohammed was a terrible driver, drove with an expired license, often drove at high speed and smashed into parked cars. in one car, two women were
talking when khalid sheikh mohammed's car smashed into theirs. the women were badly injured and they sued for their medical costs. their last name was christian, his is mohammad. the lawsuit in north carolina court records is "christian v. mohammad," 1985. >> a paragraph in your book. america would be good to k.s.m. in return, he would use college years to make alliances he would need in future terrorist attacks and plot his first assassination on american soil which will be discussed here for the first time. what are you discussing for the first time? >> the murder of meir kahane. he was a zionist and was very outspoken, very pro-israel and called for the palestinian arabs to leave gaza and the west bank and the land that was biblically israel's today. it was not a mainstream position but he founded the jewish defense league and in
1986 he spoke in greensboro, north carolina, at north carolina a&t and that speech was seen by khalid sheikh mohammed and it outraged him because this is someone who had a diametrically opposed point of view. k.s.m. often lied and said he had a palestinian connection but in his genealogy, there is no connection but most of the students and teachers he had in kuwait were palestinian and the social world in the muslim brotherhood in kuwait was primarily palestinian so he identified strongly with the p.l.o. and black september and the radical groups of the 1970's so when he heard the alternate point of view, and for k.s.m., the problem is not that people disagree, the problem is that alternate point of views exist. there should be a single unified
view, and unsurprisingly, it's his. so he plotted to kill kahane. there's a stray mention of this, a one-line mention of this buried in a footnote of the 9/11 commission report in that he claimed he had killed kahane or had kahane killed and that the c.i.a. didn't believe him. but when you look into it, you discover they didn't investigate it very hard. when you look at the case in detail, you see that the entire cell that was used, the getaway driver, the gunman, so on, that was used in the assassination of kahane was later reused in khalid sheikh mohammed's attack on the world trade center in february 1993. >> going back to that point. where was kahane shot? >> in new york city in 1990. >> in what hotel? >> oh, wow. >> marriott east. >> that's right. >> the reason i ask you that, the whole scenario after that of the cab waiting outside the
hotel and -- k.s.m. did not shoot him. >> that's right, he didn't. >> who did he get to shoot him? >> i believe he got al-syed naser to kill him. it wasn't his first attempt at murder. his first attempt of murder was at a gay bar in greenwich village. he was a new york city sanitation worker, immigrant to the united states, who worked with the sanitation department and was ultimately fired because he kept bothering other workers, trying to persuade them to embrace islam as their religion and became further radicalized, attacked the gay bar, and was brought into the cell and was the gunman, the one who shot, twice, i think, kahane. >> and kahane died there an hour later? >> he was taken to the hospital and after being wounded and died in surgery. >> but when naser walked out of the hotel, the cab driver -- the cab driver is the connection
to the 1993 -- >> one of the connections to the 1993 world trade center bombing. that's right. the cab driver was waiting for him and he gets into the wrong cab and starts barking orders and this is new york. the cabbie just turns around and barks right back so he bolts out of the cab, where he runs into an armed postal inspector and they shoot it out and ultimately nasir is taken to the same hospital as kahane. >> where's naser today? >> i believe he's still in jail. he was retried on some of these counts or tried in a different way, but for some of the same facts, i should say, in 1995 and is still convicted. i believe he's in hsing hsing. >> what's the connection to 1993 world trade center bombing? >> the world trade center bombing, the bombers issued demands after the bombing and the first of those demands was the release of nasir from prison. that's one connection.
the second connection is the cab driver in the shooting of kahane, drove the getaway car for the world trade center. another figure who videotaped the murder of kahane as a member -- posing as a member of the audience, was part of a bomb plot for the world trade center and there are several other personalities directly involved in both. >> ramzi yousef. what's his role in all of this? >> ramzi yousef is not involved in the kahane murder but he built the bomb. he's the cousin and that's one of the critical friendships or relationships that defines k.s.m.'s life, his cousin, three years younger, grew up as best friends but with an unequal relationship. >> where is ramzi yousef today? >> he's in jail in colorado. >> go back to the north carolina experience for k.s.m.
what happened to him in his time down there and how many years it was total? >> i believe it's a total of 3 1/2, almost four years. >> you talk about their hatred for israel but how much of this is hatred for the united states or hatred for israel or hatred because the united states supports israel? >> a lot of it, more than i expected, is because the united states supports israel. in the 1980's in north carolina it would not be hard for k.s.m. to meet ordinary americans who admired israel as the only middle eastern democracy, as a place that many churches take people for historical and religious visits. and so, you know, israel is generally admired and i think this came as a great shock to him. in that court case that i mentioned, christian v. mohammad, he tracked down their lawyer, steven j. teague, and visited him in his offices and lectured him about israel and palestine, about the iran-iraq war and so on and clearly he thought americans were
misinformed about israel and that was a motivator. later, when he talked to his high school principal and i think i quote that in that chapter, it was america's views of israel and support of israel that initially made him anti- american but he didn't like the way we lived. he didn't like the freedom, he didn't like the equality between men and women, he didn't like the openness, the casualness of american society where people would sit out in public and have conversations with people who would walk by. this casualness for some reason really bothered him. >> i'm not sure how to ask this but i'll ramble a little bit. he comes over to the united states to be in our educational system, the education system welcomes foreign visitors. is this what we get for it? >> well, sometimes. and i'm always looking for the dog that doesn't bark. if you look at -- and this is not the only case of a student
who comes to america and becomes radicalized and joins al qaeda let alone other terrorist groups. but i'm not aware of any case of someone going to a military college, either a public one like west point or annapolis or a private one like valley forge or the citadel, who becomes radicalized. and i think the difference is, the way we deal with students. in military colleges, you're integrated into a larger unit. yes, there are enormous individual demands on you but they're really forming unit cohesion, you're part of a group from the beginning. and that's really important. in american public colleges, nonmilitary colleges, civilian colleges, it's sink or swim. once they admit you to the college, show you where the library and cafeteria are, you're on your own. so if you don't form a good relationship with your dorm mate, if you find it hard to deal with other students, it's just your tough luck. and i think that's alienating,
especially to a lot of foreign students and remember the 9/11 hijackers in the rental car, the f.b.i. found a notebook describing the difference between conditioner, shampoo and body wash in arabic. we forget how much people coming from a different culture don't necessarily know about our own. we assume that everything about our culture is universal and easy to understand because it is for us. and so, i think college administrators don't recognize how hard it is for these guys to make the switch. i think they really need to improve orientation and improve the way in which they deal with foreign students. >> i want to put back on the screen the picture, a couple of pictures, because you have on the front of your book three different pictures. we'll go back to -- you can see the cover of your book. it's the same man. >> yes. >> what was he doing in those different worlds? was it a disguise? >> he's a master of disguise. he knew how to change himself. he had more than 50 different
identities. i have a list of confirmed aliases in the back of the book. that's one of the interesting things throughout the 1990's, he slips his way through various countries. >> where was this picture taken and how old is it? >> that's the most recent picture of khalid sheikh mohammed. that was taken in guantanamo a few years ago. here's an interesting thing. he said, for many years khalid sheikh mohammed said it was unislammic to take pictures of living things and in this picture he spent hours and hours posing for the red cross photographer to take that picture at guantanamo. >> did he know what he was doing? >> absolutely. >> why would the red cross help him in this process? >> well, that's a very good question. i guess the official answer, which i was told, was that it's -- in order to ensure the family of the detainees that the detainees are being well treated, they would take photographs of them but the propaganda value of the photo was enormous and within days of
the family receiving the photo it was on al qaeda web sites around the world. >> let's go back over -- >> and the "new york times" shortly after. >> let's go over what khalid sheikh mohammed has done and how much of this has been proved. any don't think there's great doubt about his role in most of these although there are questions about some of the operations. he came up with the idea for 9/11. he recruited the team. he supervised the process. >> from where? >> from afghanistan and pakistan, from inside al qaeda. i mean, obviously bin laden had a role both funding and shaping the operation. but 9/11 is very much the creation of a single man and that man is khalid sheikh mohammed. >> how do we know that? >> we know this from other detainees, from internal documents in al qaeda. of course, khalid sheikh mohammed says it. no one disputes it. he's given a tremendous amount
of respect in guantanamo by the other detainees because his role in the attacks is very well acknowledged. >> what did he have to do with the 1993 attack on the world trade center? >> he arranged for the money and may have masterminded that attack, as well. his cousin, ramzi yousef, went to new york to organize that cell and then to build that bomb in a warehouse called the space station warehouse across the river from lower manhattan and then delivered the bomb, killing seven people. >> what was the scheme that you write about where he was going to pilot one of the planes and land it? >> this is one of the funny details i learned about 9/11. in one of the initial -- the plan went through a number of changes between 1998 and 2001. in the early stages, they wanted to hijack 11 planes and one of them would be piloted by khalid sheikh mohammed himself, and he would kill all the men, land the plane, release the women and children, hold a press conference and then fly off into the sunset in a passenger jet. really like the plot of a bad
movie. obviously, bin laden vetoed this idea. >> when was he arrested? >> he was arrested in march 2003. >> by? >> by a combination of u.s. c.i.a. and special forces and pakistani special forces. >> how did they find him? >> they got lucky. a walk-in, which is an intelligence term for someone who volunteers and comes by the embassy and says, i've got something you should know. these people are usually not welcomed with open arms but if they pass a number of tests, they're taken seriously. in this case, a man walked in and said he was with k.s.m. and would be with k.s.m. later that night. that really got the attention of the c.i.a. because informants don'ttially suggest they're going to see the key subject in a few hours. they say, well, it will be a few weeks or months, they're hoping to get money out of it. he did want the reward. >> what was the reward? >> at the time i think it was $5 million.
i could be wrong about that. anyway, he gets the phone number from this -- one of the c.i.a. operatives in islamabad, pakistan, and remember, islamabad is the largest c.i.a. station in the world. that's where we spend the majority of our energy fighting al qaeda, and 2/3 of all al qaeda in the world, senior al qaeda who have been killed or captured have been killed or captured in pakistan, more than afghanistan and iraq combined, so it's party central for al qaeda. so he gets his cell phone number and a few hours later, about 11:00 at night, he goes to the bathroom of a restaurant and texts the c.i.a. officer he met earlier that day and says, i am with k.s.m. and they meet up a few hours later and they said he's just dropped k.s.m. off. he can't remember the address of the house. i mean, it's not like many parts of the united states where they write address number on the curb.
>> this is the one with the picture you have in the book? >> i think so, yes. >> 18-a nissin road, rawalpindi. >> which is just south of islamabad in the mountains. that's a very prosperous neighborhood, the equivalent of beverly hills. >> had you been to that house? >> not to the house, but i've been to rawalpindi. >> what did they do once they captured him? >> he was taken to a series of secret prisons. was hard to document what going on in that period between 2003 and 2006 when he was transferred to guantanamo. it appears he spent time in romania and bangkok and c.i.a. secret facility out of warsaw, poland. >> why would they have moved him around that much? >> you're a guest of another country's intelligence service and you can only have someone as a guest for so long. also, sometimes changing
people's environments kept them moving. >> how old is he today? >> he was born in 1954. i'm a writer, not a mathematician, 47 years old. >> how old would that have made him when a planned 9/11 tax that would be 37 or earlier. >> in fact, part of the inspiration for 9/11 comes from his view of the science-fiction movie "independence day." and they take up the white house and so on. that was part of his inspiration. >> all you keep telling us is what we were afraid of in the first list which is a lot of the
ideas he gets based on the way we lived -- we live. >> absolutely, the relentless criticism of america that he heard in college -- he says these are the americans talking. >> how did you personally go about collecting all this information? where to go besides north carolina? nor >> carolina is very interesting but i went to north africa and places in the middle east. i talked to a number of european intelligence services especially for the chapter in bosnia. with british and french intelligence and the german equivalent of the fbi. >> what do you think is new in this book? >> the idea that he had a
criminal record in the united states and experiences in college is new. the fact that he played an active role and worked essentially for iran in bosnia to carry out attacks is new. >> held would have been than? >> that was 1993-1994. that is new. this time at guantanamo has got a lot of attention. >> how did you get that? >> i was talking to a number of current and former navy and cia personnel who had direct access. >> how classified is his time there? >> fairly classified, one of the great frustrations. this is like writing a biography of a dead person. i could not talk to him. the u.s. government did not allow any interviews.
with him or other relatives. in the segregated section of the high value detainee camp at gitmo is another guy who is a nephew of khalid sheikh mohammed. none of these people were available to be interviewed. if you read a book about the person you cannot contact, it is because that person is dead. as a result, the people around him will talk more freely because he is not around to offer an opinion of what they have to said. when you write a book about someone like this, you can't talk to but is not dead, people are very careful what they say. they are worried about the ongoing relationship. even 10, 15, 20 years after north carolina, people are still concerned -- one person said to me don't say that i said he was a terrorist.
that might hurt his feelings. >> how many people did you talk to that actually knew him? >> about a dozen. there were non-u.s. government personnel who knew him. >> what they say about his great power? >> he was very smart education is not the solution to terrorism. most of these guys are very educated. what is lacking is empathy, the ability to put themselves in another person's place. and the ability to debate ideas, different ideas about politics, religion, how society should be organized, the idea that there is not one answer but they can be actively debated. if we had a core curriculum and colleges where there were forced to talk about different ideas and debate different ideas to get used to the practice, that might be very useful. >> how much torture or whatever you want to call it was done to
him? >> i don't think water boarding is torture. tens of thousands of people had gone through that in u.s. military training facilities. i go back to a more classical definition of torture which is a permanent and irreversible change in some as well be repaired when the chinese government plucks out your eyes or lobs or your arms or extract teeth without painkillers, that is torture. when the u.s. government put to tell on your face and slowly pour water on and you are in a prone position, it is uncomfortable and stressful and you might feel like you are drowning but it does not leave a mark, it does not cause permanent physical damage and we know it does not cause permanent damage because there are psychological studies of better to have gone through this and it leaves no trace at all. it gets cooperation from the
very hard cases it. >> when was the water shortage? >> in march, 2003. >> where? >> that's an interesting question. i don't know the answer to that and i don't know if that has been reported. i doubt it has. >> a lot of folks figure it was 180 tons was water board. is that one day? >> it might estimation, that was three sessions over a relatively short period of time. that is the number of times water was poured on the face. >> it is interesting that we have those facts. >> yes, those facts, a legal document and opinion listed by the cia in response. >> do they catalog all but when they're dealing with these things? >> yes, the cia is likely vermacht in world war two.
everything is well documented. when you water board someone, there is a doctor in the room. there's also a translator. there are other personnel standing by. if anything stars to go wrong, the process can be stopped in the person can be saved. there are many. ma safeguards. the people know what stress their put and some went through. >> does the person being watered boarded know the doctors in the room? >> it is impossible for them not to know. >> ksm have a family? >> absolutely, he has a wife who has been hiding in iran i think her name is halima and he has at least two sons we know about and possibly two daughters t. >> how is he kept in guantanamo?
>> he is kept along with four or five other high-value detainee's connected with 9/11 as part of a slightly larger group of about 15 or 16. >> is he in a cell by his self? >> i believe he is. >> have they stopped talking to him at this point? >> he is the question. -- he is still questions. the period of intense questioning tuesday over. that is partly for political reasons. he clearly knows things that have not come out. when someone breaks and water board, that automatically disgorge everything the next moment. many people said water board is so terrible. when they are water according you, they don't ask them any questions. the questions they are asking you are ones they already know the answer to. they want to test your veracity.
they're not asking things you don't know. there is no possibility of a fake information. if you give that information, their punishment. you are denied your favorite foods, books to read and things like that. >> have you ever gone through that water boarding experience? >> i went through that and there are critics who would love to do it. >> what kind of information has come out ksm that is valuable? >> we stopped a lot of plot based on direct information from him, a tax on -- attacks in the u.s. embassy in paris, singapore, the capital of mali, an attempt to sink u.s. warships off the streets of gibraltar, an attack on the brooklyn bridge, the seattle space needle, the library tower in downtown los angeles which was also a blow up an independence day, an attack
on the empire state building, a baltimore city series of gas stations, his sister-in-law was involved in that plot, and so on, a plot to bowl blowout the panama canal, a plot to blow up heathrow. these guys have not dropped -- stopped trying. the issue bombing was stopped partially from information from ksm. the jose padilla dirty bomb them up where did khalid sheikh mohammed on the first lead of some of the latent? >> they maintained it did not know each other until the early
1990's. they had their first sit-down meeting in 1995 in canada an ka. they did not get along. a second reading about one year later led to another job offer for ksm and that when he took. he wanted to work for al-qaeda. he had a wife and some children at that point, he was broke, and much of his cell that had attempted attacks in the philippines, pakistan and elsewhere had been killed or captured. he was at the end of his strength and his wife told him to get a job. then he went to work for al- qaeda. >> where was the position and how did he put together 9/11? >> from various cities in pakistan, and afghanistan he moved freely in all those cities and he preferred karachi. he had a number of relatives
living in karachi, pakistan. for them, al-qaeda was a management problem. there were people quitting plot and flying home for people threatening to quit and people getting in trouble with the law. there were at least 30 distinct opportunities to stop the 9/11 plot at different points in m 2000 and inmohammed atta was pulled over by a maryland trooper for one. from a management point of view, this was a nightmare for them. unfortunately, they succeeded and it was a nightmare for us. >> where did the money come from? >> that is a great question. some of it is coming from islamic charities and wealthy oil sheikhs across north africa.
>> why do they do it? >> ideological conviction -- there is a fantasy that exists in the minds of many educated people, both in the west and the arab world and in asia that if you do something shocking enough, radical enough, human nature will suddenly change, the same thing that led to the 1960's protests, the paris takeover in 1968 is an example. they thought human nature was suddenly change and a new society could be born. that is the idealistic vision of terrorism. it is also a mark of -- machiavellian attempt to seize power. >> why 15 of 19 hijackers from saudi arabia? >> i don't know how much saudi arabia and money is there but i'm sure it is a great number. 15 of the hijackers were from saudi arabia simply because the
u.s. state department had a special program with saudi arabia. they did not have this with any other nation on earth called visa express' breeden did not have to go to the consulate or embassy and look at an affairs officer and show identification. all but could be done by a travel agent. it was more or less rubber- stamp. it was easier to get a u.s. travel visa from saudi that was from great britain. while some of these requests from yemen and egypt and elsewhere were denied, all the saudi one for granted. >> you keep telling us it is our own fault and away with the special deals. providing easy access at colleges. do we need to reexamine the way we look at the rest of the world? >> i think we do. i'm not someone who is paranoid about things overseas but i think we need to be realistic.
we need to rethink the college experience so there is not the degree of alienation and foreign students get integrated. life should get explained to them in a comprehensive way. civilian colleges can learn from military colleges. at the time that ksm was admitted to college, he had been a member of the moslem brotherhood for two years in kuwait. why are we letting people in connected with the moslem brotherhood? i don't want neo-nazi's studying here as well. more background checks and a for instance is what we need. college universe is our financial independence in this ocean of money that comes in from foreign students here is they probably oppose any realistic security checks for foreign students. >> why the special treatment for
the saudi arabian stacks? >> the saudis are important to some u.s. businesses. there's a long-term relationship between the united states and saudi arabia. they have been very close for close to 70 years. it is a unique relationship and one that has not been studied on a slate. -- honestly. they have complained why they are not treated the same way the people from western europe are treated. there was a visa waiver where if you were a citizen of the united kingdom or ireland or germany, france and so on, you were part of the visa waiver program and you could fly into the united states and show you're pressed for and enter without a visa. the arabs did not get the same treatment. the saddest complained about that bitterly.
-- the saudi arabian complained about the bitterly. visa express' was an attempt to give them some of the same privileges that western europe decent -- western europeans and americans have. >> was the hardest part about writing this book? >> the gaps, i certainly knew who to talk to or some of the people to talk to on the cia secret that in process -- secret prison project. the aclu and other liberal groups and the u.s. department of justice was prosecuted in number of cia interrogators. they're not willing to talk. anything they say can be used against them in court. is the stand to lose their liberty, their homes, their pensions. they are in great legal blow jeopardy -- they are in great
legal jeopardy. that leads people to not say as much. eric holder has dismissed so many legal actions involved in the war on terror. a few weeks ago, he dropped a case against thomas cann. he apparently violated law. he had security clearance and released the classified documents and given to non- cleared personnel who he knew would publish it. it was a clear-cut case. the attorney general decided to drop the case. one reason might be that he saw the war on terror and the bush era was over and let this go quietly into the night. why not let the cia officers go,
too. there were only doing their job and extracted a lot of information ksm and other major conspirators. >> did you ask to see khalid sheikh mohammed? >> i did then what did they tell you? >> politely, no. >> why? >> probably for security reasons. and for legal reasons. if you believe the geneva conventions apply to people who are part of organizations that are not signatories to the geneva convention, that opening up a prisoner to public visits is a violation of geneva. you cannot treat people who are being held in combat, a prisoner of war, as animals in a zoo. that is very clearly in geneva. there was a sort of lingering legal concern. also, it is a secure place.
a lot of the layout involved is classified. you can see why the u.s. government would be sensitive. >> when was your last book written? >> 2001-2002 and published in 2003 that was your reaction when you heard that we had killed osama bin laden? >> i was surprised. i was a little disappointed. i will -- it would have been more beneficial if we captured him alive and water board him. he could have the location of sleeper sells in america or around the world. what governments are supplying al-qaeda with my and why and what the names of those officials? what a future plot against the united states and their allies. all that information is in his head and now it is gone. that information would have been valuable.
we could have used a few weeks to slowdown and surprise the al qaeda elements around the world before we announce to this. >> we have not seeing is sent a couple of years ago when you were here and since then you were made editorial director of "the washington times" and it kind of blew up. >> that was short lived. >> you filed a complaint against them. has that been results? >> that has been resolved. that case is settled. there has been a payment. a encumbered by a confidentiality clause so it cannot say anything. it was an exciting adventure. >> explain to somebody who does not know what we're talking about. >> "the washington times" is the second-biggest newspaper in washington, d.c. and is known as a conservative newspaper.
i was there to upgrade the caliber of the staff. we changed layout and design of the website and print pages and start to change the content. i thought the world was defused with opinion but reporting mixed with opinion advances the store but allows you to think about it and as for the editorial pages need to go. we were working diligently in that area and seeing great success. , i think i said about $1 million in costs by reorganizing things in the opinion section and brought in a new step and traffic was growing -- brought in a new staff and traffic was growing and there was a fight for control among the sun ofrev. sun myung moon who owned the
newspaper. i was one of the first to go. >> and when did you leave? >> i left in october, 2009. >> i found a charge of discrimination that you signed. over the years in this town,"thee post" has done this as much as anybody and they point the finger at rev. sun youngmyung moon. you talked about having to go to the unification church event in new york? >> i was made to realize that if i did not go, my prospects would be limited. >> you say you are an episcopalian? >> i was not interested in being part of the unification church.
there are many wonderful people there and i like many of them personally. i found the whole ceremony recall. -- revolting. there elements of the ceremony that are insulting to christianity and judaism because they have someone representing a priest, rabbi, and an imam walk up to us with a vial of water in there and then deported simultaneously into a bowl. this is to symbolize the unification of all the world's religions under the control moon and that struck me as very strange. weddingwas also a mass there. >> did you go? >> why did you go? >> i want to remake the editorial pages of "the washington times." i have seen many things around
the world and i could see one more. i was surprised how deeply that certainly affected me. i found a spiritually dangerous. >> what impact do you think the fiery ofjohn solomon and you has had on the "washington time?" >> that is hard to assess. i hope the paper survives and continues. for about a year or so, it looks like it wasn't. there were persistent rumors about it going on there. it seems that every connective moon and the money is flowing again and they are retiring people and hope they are a success. >> born in new york city? >> yes, >> worked for the"wall street's? journal" >> yes, i work for competitive
enterprise institute in the early 1990's, the sunday times of london, i was at a think tank in brussels. >> what number book is this for you? >> a bank is the fifth book. >> do you have a new one on the border already? >> not yet, i am playing around with a novel, a bit of a thriller. >> the name of this book is, "mastermind." it is about khalid sheikh mohammed. where are your brothers? >> my brother was that "the wall street journal" is working for president bush at the presidential library in texas. a brother frank is the executive at of"the american hunters" magazine.
my brother henry is practicing law in colorado and has just written a novel called "last rites." is a busy family. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] for a d d d copy of this program come 1-877-662-7726. 43 transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit a was atqnda.org. >> next, live, your calls and comments "washington journal on."
at 10:30, an fcc discussion on how to protect small businesses from cyber security threats. at 1:00 p.m., the effectiveness of cia interrogations'. . >> follow the house and senate when you want on c-span. we make it easier to find information about your elected officials with daily schedules, a full list of members, each day's committee hearings, plus video of house and senate sessions and progress of bills and notes. congressional chronicle is that c-span.org//congress. >> this morning,"washington times" the editor explains the debt ceiling and what action to expect from congress, the u.s. treasury, and president obama. then,