The request brought by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on behalf of all five men, was made in front of nine relatives of the 9/11 victims who were flown out to Guantánamo by the US military to witness the Bush Administration"s military tribunals.
Mohammed later said he would postpone entering his guilty plea until the military judge, Colonel Stephen Henley, completes his investigation into the mental state of two of the inmates.
But the request injected new uncertainty into the legal apparatus set up by George Bush, just 42 days before he leaves office.
The five said they decided to abandon all efforts to defend themselves against the capital charges on November 4, the day Barack Obama was elected to the White House, FOX News reported.
Henley asked each defendant if he was ready to enter a plea. The letter they submitted requested “an immediate hearing session to announce our confessions."
The judge said competency hearings were pending for two of the detainees, precluding them from immediately filing pleas.
Upon hearing that the charges might not bring the death penalty, Mohammed and the other two defendants said they"d postpone their pleas until the competency hearings could be completed for their co-defendants, FOX News reported.
Some believe the confession might be a ploy to toy with the military tribunal.
“These guys are going to mess with the system," Charles Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said.
Mohammed, who has already told interrogators he was the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, also told the judge on Monday that he had no faith in him, his Pentagon-appointed lawyers or President George W. Bush.