He also traveled in a burqa on occasion to avoid detection. An update on this story. “Life sentence likely for Guantanamo detainee in NY,” by Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays for the Associated Press, January 24:
NEW YORK – After his capture in the 1998 bombing of a U.S. embassy in Tanzania, Ahmed Ghailani recalled welcoming news reports of the al-Qaida-sponsored terror attack — until it dawned on him his countrymen were killed.
“The target was Americans, not Tanzanians,” Ghailani explained, according to a summary of a lengthy confession.
A jury would hear none of it when Ghailani went on trial more than a decade later.
With the confession barred from evidence, the trial last year resulted in Ghailani’s conviction on just one count and an acquittal on 284 others in dual attacks in Tanzania and Kenya. But that’s unlikely to stop a judge from giving him the same punishment at sentencing Tuesday as if he’d been convicted of everything: life in prison.
The potential for a paradoxical outcome in the closely watched test case points to the difficulties of applying civilian laws and rules of evidence in civil prosecutions of suspects picked up in other countries in the war on terror. […]
The judge called the evidence persuasive, citing proof that Ghailani bought one of the bomb-laden trucks, purchased 15 gas cylinders used in the bomb, stored and concealed detonators and sheltered an al-Qaida fugitive prior to the attacks.
In court papers, prosecutors agreed. They also cited evidence against Ghailani, including that he delivered hundreds of pounds of TNT to an al-Qaida cell two months before the bombings along with bags of fertilizer. […]
The FBI said Ghailani also said he wanted to learn weapons, do jihad and “wanted to learn to fight so that he could kill Jews.”
It was only after the embassy bombings, that Ghailani got to go through training in Afghanistan, according to the FBI interviews.
He later served as a bodyguard and cook for Osama bin Laden, though he did not have any private conversations with him and eventually got tired of the duties and asked to learn how to forge documents, the FBI said.
The FBI quoted him as saying he was being trained on making fraudulent documents when his trainer was making some of the fraudulent documents used by 19 men who hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001.
It also said he was in Karachi, Pakistan, at the time of the attacks and asked Khalid Sheik Mohammed who did it, only to be told he didn’t know.
The FBI said Ghailani didn’t believe Mohammed didn’t know and “assumed it was a secret.”
The questioning of the interviews was wide ranging at times, including when agents asked Ghailani if he knew any men who wore women’s clothing when they traveled. He said he had worn a burqa at times when he traveled, the FBI said.