View Full Version : A smoking gun. Iraq/Al Queda/Khalid

03-11-03, 11:56 PM

MARCH 12, 2003 WED

Khalid claims he met Osama in December
Disclosure, after 3 days of grilling, supports belief that Osama is alive but he is silent on where they met

ISLAMABAD - Breaking its official silence on the recent arrest of top Al-Qaeda lieutenant Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Pakistan's secretive Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency on Monday said Khalid told interrogators he met Osama bin Laden in December, but would not tell them where.

In a highly unusual background briefing for foreign journalists, senior officials from the agency said Khalid, who was suffering from a high fever, was interrogated for three days by a joint US-Pakistani team before being turned over to US custody.


During the first two days, they said, he was uncooperative and divulged only his name.

On the third day, however, he 'started divulging information on his contacts inside and outside Pakistan', including a meeting with Osama in December, one of the officials said.

'He could resist for only two days,' said the official.

He added that on the basis of Khalid's interrogation and other evidence, investigators believe Osama is alive, although probably not in Pakistan.

He also questioned the credibility of Khalid's assertion that he had met Osama in December, saying: 'I don't believe him unless he tells us the location.'

Officials from the intelligence agency rarely make themselves available to the foreign press.

In keeping with the secrecy, the ISI officials who conducted the briefing declined to give their names.

The most powerful of Pakistan's multiple security services, the organisation has worked closely with Afghanistan's Taleban movement and has provided training and logistical support to Islamic groups fighting Indian forces in Kashmir.

But ISI officials said they wanted to counter the impression that the agency was not serious about fighting terrorism or did so only because the United States gave it no choice.

'We thought it was necessary because this organisation is making tremendous efforts to combat terrorism,' said one of the officials at the briefing.

'We are not getting our due.'

Over tea and sandwiches in their modern headquarters in Islamabad, ISI officials gave a slide presentation summarising Pakistan's anti-terror efforts.

They then showed a videotape that they said showed the pre-dawn raid that netted Khalid and another senior Al-Qaeda figure, Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, in the city of Rawalpindi earlier this month.

The videotape showed men identified as ISI agents checking their armoured vests, boosting one another over a high wall and using bolt-cutters to open a steel gate.

That was followed by footage of agents moving into the house with guns drawn, then pressing a man identified as Khalid against a wall.

The man's back was to the camera and a hood was quickly dropped over his head.--The WashingtonPost