Gina Haspel hearing: 9/11 ‘mastermind’ asks to share information

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Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the CIA, visits the Hart Senate Office Building for meetings with senators May 7, 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gina Haspel has the backing of President Donald Trump but is a controversial choice

The self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks has asked for permission to share information about Gina Haspel, nominee for CIA director, at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is held at Guantanamo Bay, has asked a judge if he can share six paragraphs of information, the New York Times says.

Mr Mohammed was tortured by the CIA following his capture in 2003.

It is not yet clear if the request will be allowed.

Ms Haspel’s nomination is facing opposition over her role at a secret CIA prison in Thailand where detainees were waterboarded in 2002.

The request by Mr Mohammed to supply information to the Senate intelligence committee has been submitted to army judge Col James Pohl, according to one of Mr Mohammed’s lawyers, Lt Col Derek Poteet.

The request includes an attachment called “Additional Facts, Law and Argument in Support” that includes the six paragraphs, the New York Times reported. Col Poteet said he was not able to describe the information.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is of Pakistani origin but was born in Kuwait, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and transferred to Guantanamo, in Cuba, in 2006.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pictured here in a 2012 courtroom sketch, is accused with others of executing the attacks of 11 September 2001

CIA documents confirm that he was subjected to waterboarding – simulated drowning – 183 times.

Ms Haspel, who is President Donald Trump’s choice to replace now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is facing a tough hearing in the Senate where the narrow Republican majority makes her confirmation uncertain.

Many Democrats have spoken out against her nomination.

She is a career intelligence officer with more than 30 years of experience but controversially ran a prison in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda members were subjected to waterboarding in 2002. Correspondents say she was known for her harsh views.

The so-called “black sites”, where the CIA carried out “enhanced interrogation” techniques, were closed by former US President Barack Obama.

However, President Trump has since spoken out in favour of the harsh interrogation of suspects.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters gathered outside the Senate in Washington ahead of Ms Haspel’s testimony

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