January 20, 2011 | 1:58 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
The wrong men were allegedly convicted in the grisly beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl nine years ago, while a dozen terrorists involved in the actual killing are still at large and operating.
The startling revelations are based on a three-year investigation by the Pearl Project, conducted by journalism students and faculty at Georgetown University and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Heading the probe was Asra Nomani, Pearl’s colleague, from whose house in Karachi, Pakistan the reporter left on the day of his 2002 disappearance for an alleged interview with a high-level terrorist source.
While four men were convicted in the slaying and remain in jail, the actual killer was Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 destruction of New York’s World Trade Center, according to the project analysis, reported in the Washington Post and New York Times.
Both U.S. and Pakistani officials are accused of first bungling the pursuit of Pearl’s killers and then covering up the actual facts.
The report found that Mohammed told U.S. investigators at Guantanamo Bay the he slit Pearl’s throat and severed his head, with independent forensic evidence pointing in a similar direction.
However, Washington officials decided not to charge Mohammed, fearing it would complicate their case against him in the 9/11 prosecution, the report stated.
Judea and Ruth Pearl, the parents of Daniel Pearl, said they were still “trying to digest” the Georgetown report and did not wish to go into details at this point.
However, Judea Pearl said that the authors were “good and honest people, who [conducted the project] with love.”
Ruth Pearl added that the project investigators had phoned frequently and that the Pearl parents had provided valuable contacts.
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