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Pentagon releases audio portions of 9/11 suspect's testimony
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07:44, September 14, 2007

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The Pentagon on Thursday released audio portions of the court testimony of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11 terror attacks.

The audio clips, which are now available on Pentagon's website, contain admissions by Mohammed that he plotted to kill former U.S. President Bill Clinton and late Pope John Paul II.

"I was responsible for the assassination attempt against President Clinton during his visit to the Philippines in 1994 or 1995," Mohammed says in English during his testimony at a March hearing in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I was responsible for the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul the second while he was visiting the Philippines," he said.

Since the March hearing, Mohammed has been assigned "enemy combatant" status, a classification the Bush administration says allows it to hold him indefinitely and prosecute him at a military tribunal.

The audio portions were censored and a passage about the beheading of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl was deleted.

Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan in early 2002 while researching a story about Islamic militants for the Wall Street Journal.

A videotape showing his beheading was later distributed on the Internet.

The decision to censor portions of the audio came after officials from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department and others concluded it could be copied and edited by other militants for use as propaganda, officials said.

"It was determined that the release of this portion of the spoken words of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would enable enemies of the United States to use it in a way to recruit or encourage future terrorists or terrorist activities, " Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman said.

That, he said, could put U.S. lives at risk.

Source: Xinhua

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