As I discussed at length last week, high-value detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”) recently drafted a manifesto, which was turned over to GTMO officials in October and declassified earlier this month by Judge Pohl. It is my personal opinion, however, that this “manifesto” should not have been released at all, in any form.
The Los Angeles Times reports that officials pored over the document to ensure that it did not pose a security risk by containing references to classified material, writing:
“Pentagon officials said Mohammed wrote the document in October and asked that copies be hand-delivered to the court officials. He knew some of their names from ID tags they wore in court and asked his defense team to provide the others.
Defense lawyers took the document to the judge, and U.S. intelligence and security officials at Guantanamo and elsewhere combed through it for references to classified material. After the review, copies were shared with the court personnel.”
While KSM’s writing may not contain references to any classified material, it is giving him a platform for his message, opinions, and beliefs. Allowing KSM’s writings to be released to the general public is giving him the opportunity to propogate hate and intolerance, and to spread his mistrust of western culture, the United States, and everything that we value. It is readily apparent upon reading the document that KSM, regardless of how he might describe himself, is an extremist. Allowing him the opportunity to voice these beliefs from Guantanamo is granting him the chance to recruit, spread his message, and ultimately further his cause.
KSM lost his liberty, and with that, the opportunity to express himself and freely express his opinions and beliefs, when he was captured in Pakistan and brought to Guantanamo in 2003. He has openly admitted to being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, killing thousands of Americans in a single morning, as well as participating and/or leading in a lengthy list of heinous acts of terrorism.
Terrorism thrives on extremists. Allowing extremists a platform to explain themselves and express their viewpoints/philosophies to the general public is the equivalent of handing them the opportunity to recruit for their cause and spread their beliefs on a silver platter.
America may be a country that values free speech, but granting the admitted mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack in our country’s history the opportunity to freely rant about his extremist beliefs to the entire world from behind bars is unacceptable. It is my sincere hope that Judge Pohl reconsiders the implications of granting KSM this right to express himself to the world before releasing parts two and three of the manifesto.
Kelly Ann Taddonio, Senior Research Fellow
Center for Policy & Research