Maybe it was because I read the 9/11 report while on a trip to Silicon Valley that I could not help but notice how much Khalid Sheikh Mohammed spoke and presented himself as just another eager engineer-entrepreneur, with his degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, pitching his ideas to Osama bin Laden, who comes off as just another wealthy venture capitalist. But Mohammed, alas, was looking for adventure capital. As the 9/11 Commission Report put it, “No one exemplifies the model of the terrorist entrepreneur more clearly than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks . . . Highly educated and equally comfortable in a government office or a terrorist safe house, KSM applied his imagination, technical aptitude and managerial skills to hatching and planning an extraordinary array of terrorist schemes. These ideas included conventional car bombing, political assassination, aircraft bombing, hijacking, reservoir poisoning, and ultimately, the use of aircraft as missiles guided by suicide operatives . . . KSM presents himself as an entrepreneur seeking venture capital and people . . Bin Laden summoned KSM to Kandahar in March or April 1999 to tell him that al-Qaeda would support his proposal. The plot was referred to within al-Qaeda would support his proposal. The plot was now referred to within al-Qaeda as the ‘planes operation.’”

— Thomas L. Friedman on the 9/11 Commission Report  

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