9/11 defendant argues to see classified evidence

By Carol Rosenberg | An alleged al Qaida fighter accused of training the Sept. 11 hijackers sought access to classified evidence Thursday, reassuring the war court here that, once convicted, he’ll take U.S. secrets to his grave.

”If I am going to receive the death sentence, this evidence will go with me,” declared Waleed bin Attash, a one-legged Yemeni captive accused of running an al Qaida camp in Afghanistan.

After execution, he said, the secrets “will be better protected than in the hands of the FBI and CIA.”

Bin Attash made the remarks at a hearing before Judge Ralph Kohlmann, a Marine colonel who will preside at the war crimes trial of five Guantánamo captives accused of conspiring in the mass murder of 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

At least four of the men want to defend themselves. Kohlmann has been warning them that, even as their own lawyers, they can’t see or challenge classified evidence until their trial.