I know he admitted it or something in one of his earlier videos, but aside from that, do we have any actual solid evidence he ordered the September 11 attacks?

Like if he hadn't of admitted it, and he was captured instead of killed, would we really have had any evidence to convict him in a (fair) court of law?

  • 13
    Why isn't his confession enough?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 12:26
  • 21
    @Sklivvz : It could well be but I think the political atmosphere at the time was also quite complex. Could his confession be trusted? Maybe he just took credit for it because it allowed him to gain more fame and support amongst fundamentalists?
    – Samuelson
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 13:12
  • 1
    As I recall, Bin Laden originally denied being involved. However, a tape surfaced of him and other Al Qaeda members discussing details of the attack and he discussing how his engineering background led him to believe certain things would happen as a result... This seems rather conclusive.
    – M. Werner
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 13:42
  • 3
    Should the question not use 'was' instead of 'is'?
    – apoorv020
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 18:38
  • 2
    @Sklivvz - Pick one of two possible reasons. (1) Islamist terrorist groups have been known to falsely claim responsibility for attacks not done by them (source: Stratfor); (2) Personal admission, like any other anecdotal evidence, is weak even by the standards of US courts, never mind skeptics.SE.
    – user5341
    Commented May 9, 2011 at 20:52

3 Answers 3


A US Government translated transcript of a video recording of a conversation, apparently made with bin Laden's knowledge, includes:

UBL: ... Muhammad ((Atta)) from the Egyptian family (meaning the Al Qa’ida Egyptian group), was in charge of the group.

and then later

UBL: (...Inaudible...) we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.

  • 1
    Possible Coercion?
    – ripper234
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 2:27
  • @ripper: anything is possible, but if you take it at face value as a recording obtined by the US after a meeting between bin Laden and some supporters then it is difficult to see who might be have been coercing who.
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 7:25
  • The tape has been known to be a fake for years, it was clear on the day it was released, the guy is right handed, and doesn't even look like Osama very much.
    – Ron Maimon
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 2:32
  • 3
    @Ron - that is not the commonly accepted position, though it is one put forward by James H. Fetzer and "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" in June 2006 shortly before that organisation collapsed when other truthers felt unable to trust his work. A better criticism, made on German public television, might be that the US made errors in translation, such as the words "in advance" in the quote above.
    – Henry
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 6:49

Here are some quotes from Rolling Stone's interview with Omar bin Laden, one of Osama's sons. He confirms that his father organized that attack. It is not definitive proof but still a strong argument.

Interviewer writes:

One day, around the time that bin Laden was plotting the attacks of 9/11, he tacked a piece of paper to the wall of the mosque to recruit men willing to be suicide bombers.

Omar confirms:

It is true my father put the paper up in the mosque and everyone wanted to put their name on it.

  • 5
    He might have put the paper up, and interviewer might have written the sentence, but you are inferring that he planned the attack from the juxtaposition of two unrelated things.
    – Ron Maimon
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 2:33

Here are some bin Laden quotes where he took responsibility for 9/11.

October 29, 2004

I will speak to you about the reasons behind these incidents. I will honestly tell you about the minutes in which the decision was made so that you will consider. I say to you that God knows that the idea of striking the towers never occurred to us.

But, after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I started thinking of that.

The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet.

At those difficult moments, many meanings that are hard to describe went on in my mind. However, these meanings produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and generated a strong determination to punish the unjust ones.

While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women...

We had agreed with the chief amir Mohammed Atta that he should accomplish all the operations within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration could take notice.

It never occurred to us that the supreme commander of the US armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face those great horrors alone, at a time when they needed him badly.

This is because it seemed to him that being preoccupied with the little child's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the skyscrapers.

This gave with three times the period required for carrying out the operations

January 19, 2006

Days and nights will not go by until we take revenge as we did on 11 September, and until your minds are exhausted and your lives become miserable and things turn [for the worse], which you detest.

All of the above are from Osama bin Laden's videos targeted for the western audience.

And here is another one, not from Osama himself, but still from Al Qaeda.

The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its president Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 but rather, the U.S. government. So we may ask the question: why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?

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