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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Finally Goes on Trial
Just in time for the presidential election.
(CBS News) GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - The first step in the long-delayed trial of the man who has said -- who has boasted -- that he orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on America was set to begin Saturday.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged al Qaeda operatives were to be arraigned at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Four years ago, the Bush Administration brought Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other top 9/11 suspects to trial here in a military courtroom.
But when President Obama took office, he ordered the Guantanamo facility where suspects were being held closed. He said the suspects instead would stand trial in a regular criminal courtroom in New York.
But opposition to that was so intense, they had to scrub those plans. And now, the proceedings were to be held right back where they started and in the format first envisioned -- military trials at Guantanamo Bay.
Without Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed, September 11 would not have happened. The confessed mastermind, known as "KSM," proposed to Osama bin Laden the plot to not only hijack airplanes, but fly them into buildings.
On Saturday morning, KSM was to appear in before a military judge to face 2,976 charges of murder in the worst terrorist attacks ever on U.S. soil. Also being charged are Waleed bin Attash, an alleged al Qaeda operative; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who allegedly would have been a hijacker but couldn't get a visa; and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Hawsawi, who allegedly helped finance the attacks.
Four years ago, the Bush administration brought them to trial in the same military courtroom.
It was the first time the public had seen KSM since his capture in 2003 -- and he was unrecognizable. Thin, and with a long, bushy beard, KSM also was defiant: He fired his lawyers, railed against America and told the judge he wanted to plead guilty because, as he said, "I'm looking to be martyred."
Although the five suspects said four years ago they wanted to plead guilty, we're hearing from defense attorneys that they've now changed their minds and may not plead guilty this time.
That would mean these proceedings would continue, giving the five a platform to keep bashing America.