Accessibility links

Breaking News

FBI Agent: Saudi at Guantanamo Admitted Helping 9/11 Plot

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, alleged 9/11 co-conspirators, left, sit with their legal teams during a hearing in the Camp Justice compound for the U.S. war crimes commission on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, July 16, 2009. Three of the five defendants in the case attended the hearing; from left, they are Walid Bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.

A Saudi Arabian being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has admitted to helping with flights and finances for seven of the 19 men who hijacked planes in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., one of his interrogators testified at his trial.

Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, now facing a war crimes tribunal, spoke to interrogators over four days in January 2004 as they showed him evidence of his involvement in the terrorist attack.

"He indicated he was very happy to have been able to support the brothers who carried out the attack," retired FBI Agent Abigail Perkins testified Wednesday, providing the most detailed account so far of evidence prosecutors intend to use in a case that has unfolded incrementally over nearly six years.

The agent described the conversation as cordial, professional and nonthreatening. But defense attorneys say the confessions were not voluntary, but rather the result of brutal treatment at the hands of the CIA between his capture in Pakistan in March 2003 and when he was taken to Guantanamo in September 2006.

Perkins testified that al-Hawsawi told her he considered the attack a legitimate retaliation for U.S. troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia. "He indicated that he was very happy to have been able to support the brothers who carried out the attack," she recalled.

In all, 2,976 people were killed on 9/11 in the attacks using planes that crashed in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field. Five men are charged at Guantanamo as co-conspirators in the attack, and they could be executed if they are convicted.