As for the prisoners, he said: Regardless of what they did and I believe they are in fact guilty I have a choice: I can either try to help another human escape from darkness or I can look away and do nothing. And I chose to help.
He would not say how much he spent on the books, just that he got them from four vendors, one an online Arabic-language bookseller.
He went shopping once he learned hed been chosen in the Pentagons lottery to peer through soundproofed glass at the back of Guantánamos maximum-security courtroom to see Mohammed and four other men accused of conspiring in the plot that killed his father and 2,975 other people.
At each shop, he said, he enlisted the help of an employee. One bookseller confided that shed lost a soldier son in Iraq and, knowing that the collection was bound for Guantánamo, added her favorite Seabiscuit. Its the only nonfiction book in the collection, and was written by Laura Hillenbrand, one of 10 women whose works are represented.
The literature was processed like any other incoming books primarily to review for notes, contraband material, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, the prisons spokesman. He noted for the record that the military was not soliciting books from the general public for the detainees and the Pentagon already had about 25,000 items in its collection.
At the library, an Army lieutenant who would not give his name, called the collection mostly old classic novels that seem like legitimate, good quality books. They arrived in mint condition no torn bindings, scratches and were being marked like any others to start circulating among the offerings late this summer.
All passed inspection but one: Stephen Kings It, an epic horror novel about a monster that lurks in some Maine sewers. It includes a sex scene between a 12-year-old girl and five boys of about the same age, one after another, and was rejected after weeks of consideration for circulation by the Guantánamo prison library.
Editors note: A day after publication of this article in the Aug. 18 Miami Herald, a prison camps spokeswoman said the library reversed its decision and accepted the gift copy of 'It' because the novel was already part of the collection.