Red Cross Meets With Khalid Sheik Mohammed at Gitmo

A Red Cross delegation has met at Guantanamo Bay with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and 13 other "high-value detainees," a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

The officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross met the 14 newest detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba this week, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon.

"They have had access to the 14 high-value detainees at Guantanamo this week," Gordon said at the Pentagon.

Red Cross spokesmen in Washington and Geneva refused to comment, saying they would issue a statement in coming days. The Red Cross delegation arrived at Guantanamo on Sept. 25.

The encounter appears to be the first time the 14 new detainees have met with anyone other than their captors since they were arrested, held in CIA custody at secret locations, and then transferred to Guantanamo Bay weeks ago.

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President Bush on Sept. 6 announced that they have been moved to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trial. Among them are the alleged architects of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Gordon declined to release details of the meetings the Red Cross had with the 14 high-profile detainees but said they are the same as those the Red Cross has with any of the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Some 460 suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban members are held at the military prison on the sprawling U.S. base in southeast Cuba.

Army Brig. Gen. Edward A. Leacock, the deputy commander of Guantanamo, said last month that the 14 new detainees were being checked for medical and dental problems and were given materials to write letters, which would be handed over to the Red Cross for mailing after undergoing military censorship. Authorities have said they are being held in a maximum-security area but refused to say precisely where.

The detainees reportedly underwent coercive interrogations while being held by the CIA. Bush, in his Sept. 6 speech, declined to disclose the techniques but denied they constituted torture.

Mohammed was believed to be the No. 3 al-Qaida leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003.

Also among the 14 new detainees are also Ramzi Binalshibh, who is accused of helping plan the Sept. 11 attacks and being a lead operative for a foiled plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport, and Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Usama bin Laden and many Al Qaeda cells before he was captured in Pakistan in 2002.