The Nose Knows: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the 9/11 Military Court Hearings


You’d think that someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would have bigger things to worry about than a courtroom sketch—maybe something like being on trial for masterminding the 9/11 attacks and facing the death penalty after spending five years in Guantanamo Bay. But at yesterday’s hearing, his first appearance in public in five years, Mohammed balked at the courtroom sketch artist’s rendering of his nose, and wanted it to match his FBI capture photo. (I’m convinced news outlets will find any excuse to run it.)

The Post has a field day with Mohammed’s demand: Andrea Peyser spends her entire column referring to him as a “baby,” including an oh-so-eloquent description of those who oppose the conditions in Gitmo as the “wacky butt-wipers” of terrorists. The banner headline reads “9/11 PLOTTER A VAIN SNOUTLAW,” and page 7 features the illustration in question and the dirty T-shirt photo.

The News decides to go with a headline encouraging Mohammed to embrace his declaration that killing him will martyr him: “Please kill me, Qaeda thug says (It’ll be our pleasure!)” They also cover nose-gate, but bury it in the lead story.

Both papers also include editorials on the case: the News refers to Mohammed and his co-conspirators as “hellbound,” while the Post uses part of its editorial page to call Mohammed a “John Belushi/Ron Jeremy” lookalike, noting that “there’s never a waterboard around when you really need on.” Something tells me the “butt-wipers” aren’t going to like that remark.