Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Seventeen years before 9/11, terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a 19-year-old engineering student in North Carolina who found most Americans to be "debauched and racist."
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
His stint in two N.C. schools--first at tiny, Baptist Chowan College, and then at N.C. Agricultural and Technical University--was a turning point in his life, with the CIA noting in a 2009 report that his "limited and negative experience in the [U.S.]--including a short stay in jail--almost certainly helped propel him on his path to become a terrorist."
As we near the 10th anniversary of 9/11, here is the never-before-published arrest record of what led to Mohammed's "short stay."
Mohammed, who spent part of his childhood in Kuwait, joined the Muslim Brotherhood when he was 16. After college, he fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, but didn't meet Osama bin Laden until 1996. At that point, the two men developed a close working relationship. According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohammed was the "principal architect" of the attacks, and had a hand in many other plots, including the murder of veteran Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, whom he allegedly beheaded. In 2003, he was captured by Pakistani forces, and is currently at Guantanamo awaiting trial.
Although media reports vary as to why he was arrested, with some saying he wrecked a car and others positing that he failed to pay his bills, the truth is that Mohammed hit a patch of water on Aug. 7, 1984, and slammed into another car. For this, he was charged with failure to reduce speed.
At the time, Mohammed was driving a 1978 Oldsmobile that belonged to his nephew, Abdul Karim Mahmoud Abdul Karim, also a student at N.C. A&T. Abdul Karim, also known as Musaad Aruchi, is either the brother or cousin of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, according to conflicting reports. The Washington Post reported that he was a senior Al-Qaeda operative who was arrested in Pakistan in 2004. Though his current whereabouts are unknown, he is believed to be in American custody.
Mohammed and Abdul Karim both lived at 333 Montrose Dr. in Greensboro, N.C. (And for anyone who wants to correct Wikipedia, which says Mohammed was either born on March 1, 1964, or April 14, 1965, the document below says he was born on April 24, 1965.) The car Mohammed hit was driven by fellow Greensboro resident Delois Christian Davis, who would now be 63. Letha Christian, who would now be 78, was her passenger. Attempts to find both women were unsuccessful.
Last year, while working as a reporter in N.C., I obtained the record from Greensboro, N.C., authorities. Originally they said it would be impossible to find, but within a month the Greensboro Police Department tracked it down, saying nobody, not even the federal government, had yet requested it. Because of its age, it may be hard to read.