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Federal agents have backed up al Qaeda captive Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession in the killing of journalist Daniel Pearl by using photographs of the veins in his hands, according to a new report released Thursday.
Mohammed confessed to beheading Pearl after his 2003 arrest in Pakistan. But the U.S. admission that he had been subjected to "waterboarding" -- a practice historically treated as torture -- while in CIA custody cast doubt on the reliability of his confession, according to a lengthy investigation of the Pearl case by the Center for Public Integrity.
According to the report, the FBI and CIA used stills from the video of Pearl's killing to match the patterns of the veins in Mohammed's hand in 2004 and repeated the process in 2007, after Mohammed repeated his confession during a hearing at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"Beyond KSM's confession, the U.S. government has never revealed any corroborating evidence," the report states. But it called the vein match the "best evidence" the United States has linking Mohammed to Pearl's 2002 slaying.
Even the grisly video of Pearl's death had to be restaged, "because the cameraman failed to capture the original scene."
Mohammed moved so quickly to cut Pearl's throat that the photographer failed to load a tape into his camera, according to the report. He repeated the killing for the camera, severing Pearl's head in the process and making sure the photographer showed the blood still pouring through Pearl's throat.