Al Qaeda's Number Three, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has confessed–boasted, really–his central role in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Mohammed, captured in 2003, has told a military tribunal that he decapitated "the American Jew…with my blessed right hand."
Mohammed has implicated himself in some 31 terrorist plots over the past 15 years, including the first and second World Trade Center bombings. Yet U.S. authorities are convinced that he is lying or at least exaggerating his role in many of them. Here's a rundown of apparent fact and fantasy in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The good news? KSM's capture has almost surely destroyed al Qaeda's capabilities. From another account:
His expertise was never replaced and his absence contributed to the group's transition from a fear-inspiring attack force to a hate-filled voice on the Internet, urging others to wage terror against the West.
"In terms of competence for managing, planning and executing terrorist attacks, KSM was the best in al-Qaida," said Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert and author of a book on al-Qaida. "That's why Osama bin Laden and other important al-Qaida leaders entrusted him with so many operations."