Charlie Savage of The New York Times has a different view. According to his
sources, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind himself,
selected Mr. Khan to carry out follow-up attacks in the United States because of his
English language abilities and familiarity with the country. Officials say the two discussed blowing up gas stations and poisoning reservoirs, among
Rosenberg and Savage are probably both right, which helps explains why Kahn has been held, without trial, in military custody at Gitmo
Whatever he did, or is accused of doing, Kahn evidently made a deal recently with his captors and now has promised to testify against his fellow
detainees over the next four years in exchange for some sort of leniency, to be determined later. Reports of the deal suggest that Kahn will testify
both against Hambali for the 2003 bombing and perhaps against Mohammed as well for the latter's role in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The
news has been leaking for days; officials are expected to formalize (and publicize) the deal Wednesday.
And why wouldn't the feds want Kahn turning state's evidence? He speaks English well (which is probably why Mohammed allegedly wanted him involved to begin with) and is now clean-cut (wearing wire-rimmed glasses at the hearing Wednesday). He may not be an American citizen -- though he was lawfully in the country on 9/11 and afterward -- but he's evidently American enough. And his alleged direct ties to Mohammed make him both a "high-profile" detainee as well as an obvious choice for the feds to flip.
What Kahn's turnaround really means is that testimony that is by law too unreliable to incriminate Kahn himself now will be introduced to incriminate
other detainees. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the use of evidence obtained through torture or other forms of coercion against the person who made the
incriminating statements. But the Fifth Amendment does not prohibit the use of such testimony against third parties. Whether such testimony could
reasonably be considered accurate and reliable, on the other hand, is a whole different story.
Back to Rosenberg, from her Herald piece:
A year [after Kahn was captured], defense attorneys filed a brief in federal court declaring him a torture victim of the CIA's enhanced interrogation
program. "Khan admitted anything his interrogators demanded of him," his lawyers wrote, "regardless of the truth, in order to end his suffering."
According to transcripts, Khan told a military board in April 2007 that he emerged from CIA custody so despairing of his isolation that he tried to
kill himself by chewing through an artery in his arm.
This is the guy whose story military prosecutors are going to endorse in court against other detainees. This is the guy who is going to be subject
to cross-examination by lawyers for Hambali and Mohammed. This is the guy who is going to promise that he is telling the truth now.
Remember when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called men like Kahn "killers" and when President George W. Bush called them
"the worst of the worst"? Six years later, Kahn has a new name: star government witness. It's mind boggling.