Walid bin Attash used to frequent online dating sites. “Loves to travel — sometimes at a moment’s notice,” bin Attash described himself before his 2003 capture. So writes former CIA veteran Jose Rodriguez in his new book, “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”
On Saturday, bin Attash was one of five defendants charged with 2,976 counts of murder for their role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It would seem that bin Attash has grown very devout at Guantanamo Bay. His civilian attorney, Cheryl Bormann, wore a hijab and an abaya at the military pretrial hearing. She even suggested that female prosecutors dress in more “appropriate” fashion in deference to the defendants’ “fear of committing a sin under their faith.” According to news reports, distaff prosecutors wore military uniforms with knee-length skirts.
“Is the bin Attash in your book the same guy whose attorney feels she must cover her entire body?” I asked Rodriguez. Yes, he answered. “These people are pretty hypocritical. One thing is their religious beliefs; the other thing is what they do.”
It’s clear from Saturday’s antics that the military tribunal, which is not expected to begin until May 2013, will be a circus. Defense attorneys don’t have much of a claim to the clients’ innocence. In 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed issued a statement in which he proclaimed that he was the mastermind of 9/11, “from A to Z.” In 2008, KSM and his co-defendants told a military court that they were guilty and wanted to be martyred.
When President Barack Obama was elected, he halted military legal proceedings in favor of a civilian trial in New York. Fearing a possible terrorist attack, Congress objected. Under new rules, the military tribunal is back.