The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other men charged with helping launch those attacks ended their first day in a military commission arraignment by saying they would wait to enter their pleas.
The day was contentious. The men refused to answer routine questions from Judge James Pohl, refused to participate in the proceedings, and even refused to listen to the simultaneous Arabic translation of what was going on all around them.
The appearance of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other men in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ends a nearly decade-long back and forth over how best to try the men the U.S. says helped plan, pay for and execute the Sept. 11 attacks.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — or KSM, as he is known — has claimed that he was the mastermind of the attacks "from A to Z." But his ties to terrorism, by his own admission, go beyond that one plot. KSM saw himself as the sun around which his network revolved.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks were supposed to be tried six years ago in a military tribunal created by the Bush administration.
But that system — which allowed hearsay evidence, among other things — faced questions about its fundamental fairness. When President Obama came into office, he put all the proceedings at Guantanamo on hold and asked that the commission system be revamped.
Since then, there has been an effort to make sure the trials at Guantanamo are credible, with both Congress and the Supreme Court weighing in.
The man who claims to have orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks is expected to appear in a military courtroom this Saturday. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men are supposed to answer formal charges related to their roles in the plot.
Their arraignment will be at Guantanamo Bay, and it is the first step that leads — possibly years from now — to a military trial.