By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun
9:01 PM EDT, April 25, 2011
An Owings Mills High School graduate who is being held in military detention at Guantanamo Bay showed his willingness to become an al-Qaida martyr by participating in a plot to assassinate Pakistan's president, the government alleges in classified documents obtained by media outlets.
The government also believes Majid Khan, who moved with his family from Pakistan to Baltimore County in 1996, was involved in funneling money used in a 2003 bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, according to the documents provided to news outlets this week by WikiLeaks, a group opposed to government secrecy.
But a transcript of a hearing at which Khan presented a statement to a military tribunal shows that he vehemently denied the government's allegation that he was involved in terrorist activities before his capture in Pakistan in 2003.
"I am not al-Qaida. I am not an enemy combatant, and there were not any terrorist acts," said Khan in the statement, apparently made in 2007. "How can a homeowner in Baltimore, Maryland, be an enemy terrorist?"
Khan had previously been accused in government documents of being an "al-Qaida operative" who planned to set a series of gas station fires and to poison drinking water in the United States. The new documents add details to what has previously been alleged about Khan's activities both before and after his capture and subsequent detention at Guantanamo.
According to the documents, the 1999 Owings Mills graduate was "directly subordinate" to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
According to the government's statement of reasons to keep him detained, Khan referred to the al-Qaida organizer as his "uncle" and accepted assignments from him, including a fake plot to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf — designed as a test of Khan's dedication rather than an actual attempt to kill — and the delivery of funds to an Indonesian Islamic extremist group for the financing of the Marriott bombing that killed a dozen people.
Khan denied being a follower of the man known to U.S. authorities as KSM.
"I have never called KSM my uncle. KSM is not my uncle," Khan's statement says. He claimed to have been tortured by U.S. officials while in custody in Pakistan and subjected to "mental torture" at Guantanamo.
Nevertheless, the Department of Defense recommended that Khan, a legal resident of the United States but not a citizen, be kept in detention. It called him a "high risk to pose a threat to the United States, its interests and allies" but a low risk if kept in detention. The government also said he was a detainee of high intelligence value.
Khan remains in custody at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
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