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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Guantanamo Inmate Confesses to Attacks

WASHINGTON -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed portrayed himself as al-Qaida's most ambitious operational planner in a confession to a U.S. military tribunal, in which he said he planned and supported 31 terrorist attacks that killed thousands since the early 1990s.

The gruesome attacks range from the suicide hijackings of Sept. 11, 2001 -- which killed nearly 3,000 -- to a 2002 shooting on an island off Kuwait that killed a U.S. Marine, an account released by the Pentagon said.

Many plots, including a previously undisclosed plan to kill several former U.S. presidents, were never carried out or were foiled by counterterrorism authorities.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read Saturday during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mohammed's confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative.

The Pentagon released a 26-page transcript of the closed-door proceedings on Wednesday night. Some material was omitted, and it was not possible to confirm details immediately. Some elements of it refer to locations for which the United States and other countries have issued terrorism warnings based on what they deemed credible threats, from 1993 to the present.

Mohammed, known as KSM among government officials, was last seen haggard after his capture in March 2003, when he was photographed in a dingy white T-shirt. He disappeared for more than three years into a secret detention system run by the CIA.

In his first public statements since his capture, his radical ideology and self-confidence were apparent. He expressed regret for taking the lives of children and said Islam does not give a "green light" to killing.

Yet he finds room for exceptions. "The language of the war is victims," he said.

He also said that in the same way that some consider George Washington, the first U.S. president, to be a hero for his role in the American Revolution, many Muslims view al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the same light. "He is doing same thing. He is just fighting. He needs his independence."