A terror suspect accused by American authorities of financing one or more of the Sept. 11 hijackers told a hearing that he is an ordinary businessman with family ties to alleged terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed but no involvement in al-Qaida or other terrorist organizations.
In statements to an administrative hearing at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, whom the Defense Department calls Ammar al-Baluchi, also asserted that during his nearly four years in U.S. custody he provided U.S. officials with "vital information" to help foil terrorist plots.
He is one of 14 "high value" terror suspects held in secret CIA prisons before being sent to Guantanamo Bay last September.
Ali said Mohammed, who is his uncle, introduced him to at least one of the Sept. 11 hijackers and others accused by the United States of being al-Qaida operatives, but he said Mohammed never mentioned that he or they were involved with al-Qaida or plotting attacks against the United States.
The hearing, known as a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, was held March 30. Reporters were not allowed access. The Pentagon released a transcript of the proceedings Thursday.
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