9/11 Mastermind Was Told Not to Behead Daniel Pearl

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did it anyway
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2011 9:44 AM CDT
9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was ToldNot to Behead Daniel Pearl
This undated file photo made available by the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 27, 2002, shows Wall Street Journal South Asia bureau chief Daniel Pearl.   (AP Photo/Wall Street Journal)

Amid the latest WikiLeaks dump, a heartbreaking post-script to the story of Daniel Pearl. Seems 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was warned not to kill the Wall Street Journal reporter by a top al-Qaeda military commander who said "it would not be wise to murder Pearl" and that he should "be returned back to one of the previous groups who held him, or freed." Mohammed told interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that he turned to a second al-Qaeda leader, the group's chief financial officer, for advice. They agreed on the next step: "Pearl was taken to the house of al-Qaeda's finance chief in Pakistan and murdered."

Other revelations from Mohammed, as per the Los Angeles Times:

  • On would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid: He advised Reid to shave his beard before boarding the flight and ignite the bomb in the plane's bathroom. Reid, who Mohammed deemed "irresponsible," would not shave and attempted to detonate it in his seat.
  • On other targets: He named CIA and FBI headquarters and nuclear power plants. He also discussed setting off a wave of natural gas explosions in Chicago, hacking into bank computers, and hijacking American cargo planes.
  • On a West Coast plot: He hoped to bomb California's tallest building, which the Times assumes is US Bank tower in LA, "using at least two separate shoe bombs to gain access to the cockpit."
(More Khalid Sheikh Mohammed stories.)

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