9/11 Terror Suspects Avoided the Death Penalty Through Negotiations: Letter to Families

The suspected perpetrator of the September 11, 2001 attack and several other defendants could avoid the death penalty by considering grievance agreements, according to a Pentagon-FBI letter to families.

The letter was sent by federal authorities to several families of the thousands of people killed in the September 11 attacks. This comes a year and a half after military prosecutors and defense attorneys began looking for a possible solution to the case.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others are being held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The case was hampered and delayed, particularly because of the legal issues surrounding the tortured interrogation the men were subjected to while in CIA custody.

“The Attorney General's Office has been conducting negotiations and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements,” the letter reads.

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Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of 9/11, is seen shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan on Saturday March 1, 2003 in this photo obtained by the Associated Press.

This Saturday, March 1, 2003, a photograph obtained by The Associated Press shows Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, shortly after his capture in a raid in Pakistan. (AP photo) (AP)

It goes on to say that an appeal agreement has not yet been finalized: “…and may never be finalized, it is possible that a PTA would eliminate the possibility of the death penalty in this case.”

The letter, which some family members received, is dated August 1 and urges them to send their thoughts on a settlement to FBI Victim Services by Monday.

According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohammed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden proposed the idea of ​​an attack on the United States. The four other defendants are said to have assisted the kidnappers in a variety of ways.

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Tribute in Light 9/11 New York City

The Brooklyn Bridge tribute to 9/11 in light in New York City (Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)

2,977 people died as a result of the September 11 attacks, when two planes hit the World Trade Center and another the Pentagon. A fourth plane was en route to Washington, DC but crashed in Pennsylvania.

Jim Riches, who lost his son who was a firefighter during 9/11, said he laughed bitterly when he opened the letter.

“How can you believe that?” Riches said, adding that the update “gives us little hope.”


9/11 Memorial in New York City

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: New York City Police Officer Danny Shea, a military veteran, salutes at the north pool of the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center compound, September 11, 2001. September 2011 in New York City. New York City and the nation commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Lower Manhattan that killed 2,753 after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. (Photo by David Mitten Pool/Getty Images) (David Glove Pool/Getty Images)

“No matter how many letters they send, until I see it, I won't believe it,” Riches said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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