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NEW YORK — Hours before dawn on March 1, 2003, the U.S. scored its most thrilling victory yet against the plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks — the capture of a disheveled Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, hauled away by intelligence agents from a hideout in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

The global manhunt for al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader had taken 18 months. But America’s attempt to bring him to justice, in a legal sense, has taken much, much longer. Critics say it has become one of the war on terror’s greatest failures.

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