Intelligence: False Confessions


March 19, 2007: The FBI seems to have the goods on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed regarding his connection to September 11, 2001. But in his recent confession, he also admits to involvement in numerous other plots, many of which were never executed. But there seems to be room for some healthy skepticism about his claims. In fact, they bring to mind an old tradition in organized crime; a technique ancient enough that it has been reported on in Medieval London, and is not unknown in modern times, as indicated by its appearance in the novel, "The Godfather". Among hard core members of organized crime, it's long been a commonplace that, if the Law has the goods on you, confess to lots of other stuff too. This helps your brother criminals get off the hook if they're suspected to something, and makes the leadership of the mob - whether the "Upright Man" of Medieval London or the "Don" of modern America - look kindly upon your passing, and perhaps take care of you loved ones. So, in "confessing" to all these acts, is Mohammed actually helping to get some of his buddies off the hook?

There's also another way to look at this confession. Is Mohammed playing to the "court of public opinion"? A lot of the plots and such that he says he was involved in are seemingly improbable. By admitting to them, is he trying to make it look like his confession was beaten out of him? The only people who might know for sure are the analysts and interrogators who worked on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and the other participants in the many crimes Khalid confessed to. Analysts and interrogators can detect lies and deceptions, especially when they have at their disposal the largest espionage and analysis organization on the planet. To that end, it would be useful to feign belief in Khalid Shaikh Mohammeds confession, in order to lead some of his cronies into compromising situations, and capture.

For this to work, Khalids interrogators can't discuss it publicly. But Khalid Shaikh Mohammeds fellow terrorists have a better idea of what's going on. And it's now no secret that al Qaeda's ambitious, at least as far as terrorist violence goes, were boundless. Yet, for such a mighty international terrorist organization, they have accomplished remarkably little in the last six years. Most of their victims are Iraqi civilians, and that has caused Moslems to despise, rather than idolize, al Qaeda. This knowledge may have broken Khalid, but that's another of the secrets that has not yet been revealed.


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