RealNews

An Elusive Figure Who Came to U.S. Attention Late

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured on Saturday in Pakistan, is believed by American officials to be the central planner of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. He is described by American intelligence officials as the operations chief of Al Qaeda, the man who planned not only the Sept. 11 attacks but also many of the terrorist operations carried out around the world since. An ethnic Pakistani who grew up in Kuwait, he studied engineering at a college in North Carolina. He has repeatedly eluded capture — before and after Sept. 11. American officials have often said that, next to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Mohammed is the suspected terrorist leader they most wanted to catch. Yet Mr. Mohammed’s importance within Al Qaeda was not apparent to American intelligence and law enforcement officials until several months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Other Al Qaeda operatives who had been captured helped lead the F.B.I. and C.I.A. to conclude that he had been the main planner of the hijacking plot, officials said. Full Story

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