- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

Old Case: 1994-95 Bojinka conspiracy.

Detainee: Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Background: Long before he was accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Mohammed was an obscure fugitive in the Bojinka conspiracy, an alleged plot to simultaneously detonate bombs aboard airliners over the Pacific.

In a test run of the plot, a bomb was planted on a Philippines Airline flight. The liquid explosives were hidden in a bottle of contact lens cleaner and a reconfigured digital watch. Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombings at the World Trade Center, put the bomb under a seat and got off the jet. The bomb later detonated in midair, killing a Japanese businessman and injuring 10 other passengers. The pilot was able to land the plane safely.

Yousef and two others were convicted in the plot, but Mohammed was never caught.


Old Case: 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Detainee: Ahmed Kalfan Ghailani.

Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was accused of helping plan and deliver explosives in the embassy attacks that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

He is accused of delivering TNT and oxygen canisters to the bomb makers and buying one of the vehicles used in the attacks.

The original indictment filed in New York portrays Ghailani as a low-level accomplice in the attacks. U.S. officials say he flew to Pakistan just before the embassies were bombed, and since then rose up in the ranks of al-Qaida.

Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004, and is one of about a dozen suspects declared “high-value detainees” by the U.S. government. He has denied knowing the TNT and oxygen tanks would be used to make a bomb. He also denied buying the vehicle, saying he could not drive.


Old Case: 2000 bombing of the USS. Cole.

Detainees: Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Waleed bin Attash.

Both men were named in 2003 as unindicted coconspirators in an indictment handed up after the attack on the Cole, which killed 17 sailors. Al-Nashiri and bin Attash were not formally charged in federal court at the time because they were already in the custody of U.S. officials. CIA officials later admitted al-Nashiri was one of the few terror suspects waterboarded.

Families of the Cole victims have complained that this is the only major al-Qaida attack on Americans that has never been brought to trial in the United States.

Al-Nashiri is often cited by authorities as the mastermind of the Cole attack.

Both men have also been implicated in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa.

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