WASHINGTON – Waleed Mohammed Bin Attash, long suspected of plotting the bombing of the USS Cole, confessed to planning the attack during a hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a Pentagon transcript released Monday.
He also said he helped plan the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that killed 213, the transcript said. Seventeen sailors were killed and 37 injured when suicide bombers steered an explosives-laden boat into the battleship on Oct. 12, 2000.
"I participated in the buying or purchasing of the explosives," bin Attash said when asked what his role was in the attacks on the Cole and the embassies. "I put together the plan for the operation a year and a half prior to the operation, buying the boat and recruiting the members that did the operation."
The release of Bin Attash's transcript came five days after the Pentagon released the record of hearings held for three other high-value suspects at Guantanamo. One of them, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confessed to nearly three dozen plots including the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., according to the transcripts.
Bin Attash said he met with the man who did the embassy bombings just a few hours before the operation took place.
"I was the link between Usama bin Laden and his deputy Sheikh Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri," who authorities say worked with bin Attash on planning the Cole attack, bin Attash said.
Bin Attash also said he was with bin Laden when the Cole was attacked.
Said to be an Al Qaeda operational chief, he also is known as Tawfiq bin Attash or Tawfiq Attash Khallada or simply Khallad.