Bin Laden relative testifies after all
NEW YORK — Osama bin Laden's son-in-law offered a rare glimpse of the al-Qaida leader in the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, recounting during surprise testimony on Wednesday in a Manhattan courtroom how the two met that night in a cave in Afghanistan.
“Did you learn about what happened ... the attacks on the United States?” the son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recalled bin Laden asking him.
“We are the ones who did it.”
The testimony was given as Abu Ghaith's trial on charges he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida as a spokesman for the terrorist group took a dramatic turn. His decision to take the witness stand was announced by his lawyer, Stanley Cohen, who surprised a nearly empty courtroom that quickly filled with spectators as word spread.
Abu Ghaith testified that bin Laden seemed worried that night and asked what he thought would happen next. Abu Ghaith said he predicted America “will not settle until it accomplishes two things: to kill you and topple the state of the Taliban.”
Bin Laden responded: “'You're being too pessimistic,'” Abu Ghaith recalled.
Bin Laden then offered the onetime imam a job that would gain him infamy as well as a place in the inner circle of the world's most wanted terrorist. “I want to deliver a message to the world,” Abu Ghaith said bin Laden told him. “... I want you to deliver that message.”
The testimony was a rare gambit by the defense, a last-ditch effort to counter a mountain of evidence against Abu Ghaith, including an alleged confession and videos showing him sitting beside bin Laden on Sept. 12, 2001, and another in which he warned Americans that “the storm of airplanes will not abate.” The defense has never disputed that Abu Ghaith associated with bin Laden after 9/11, but it contends he was recruited as a religious teacher and orator, and had no role in plotting more attacks.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Postal Service falls short of slower mail delivery standards
- CDC lauds schools for better nutrition
- Memorial service for slain Virginia journalists brings call for action
- University of Texas removes statue of Confederate President Davis
- Motive in ambush of Houston area deputy remains unknown
- Obama administration developing sanctions against China over cyberespionage
- Erika wanes as Tropical Storm Fred forms in Atlantic
- Obama inches closer to veto-proof support for Iran nuclear deal
- Pope Francis’ lack of familiarity with United States unusual
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- Supreme Court can resolve Kentucky county clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to gays