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Two terrorists were under investigation by FBI; The Manhunt Intelligence Services Under Attack
The Guardian (London) | September 17, 2001 | Stuart Millar, Nick Hopkins, John Hooper and Giles Foden

Posted on 09/17/2001 2:56:28 PM PDT by Wallaby

Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Two terrorists were under investigation by FBI; The Manhunt Intelligence Services Under Attack For Missing Hijackers Living In America
Stuart Millar, Nick Hopkins in Miami, John Hooper in Berlin and Giles Foden
The Guardian (London)
Guardian Home Pages, Pg. 11
September 17, 2001

Two of the hijackers on board the aircraft that hit the Pentagon had been under surveillance by US intelligence, it was revealed yesterday, along with more details about the terrorists' final movements. Intelligence officers issued a warning two months ago that Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq al-Hamzi may have been planning to enter the US after surveillance video footage linked al-Midhar with Osama bin Laden and the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen last October that killed 17 sailors.

Al-Midhar was filmed by the CIA in January last year at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur with a suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole.
The FBI was alerted after the authorities discovered that both men were already in the country, but they could not be traced. The two men resurfaced last week when, along with al-Hamzi's brother Salem and a fourth man, Hani Hanjour, they seized control of American Airlines flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon an hour after taking off from Washington Dulles airport.

The revelation came as FBI investigators claimed they were making significant progress in America's biggest ever criminal investigation. The attorney general, John Ashcroft, said that although there were 36,000 individual leads to follow up, clarity' was emerging. The passport of one of the hijackers involved in the New York attacks was recovered several blocks away from the rubble of the World Trade Centre, prompting investigators to widen the search site. The name on the passport has not been released.

Federal agents also arrested a second person on a material witness' warrant, which allows them to be held without charge. The latest arrest took place in an apartment in Jersey City, across the Hudson river from New York, late on Saturday. Evidence collected from the apartment is being examined for clues. Lost nerve

The arrest came a day after a man of Middle-Eastern origin, whom investigators believe holds important information about the attacks, was formally taken into custody as a material witness. He had been detained on Thursday evening in New York after being stopped at JFK airport with fake pilot identification papers.

Another two men who were arrested on a train in Fort Worth, Texas, were taken to New York for questioning. Ayub Ali Khan, 51, and Mohammed Jaweed Azmath, 47, were on a plane that took off from Newark, New Jersey, on the day of the attacks and was diverted to St Louis when the Federal Aviation Authority ordered every aircraft in US airspace to land. Law enforcement sources were quoted as saying that they believe the men may have been planning to hijack the flight but lost their nerve.

In St Louis, the men boarded a train bound for San Antonio, Texas, but were detained during a routine drug search in Fort Worth and were found to be carrying box cutters and Dollars 5,000 in cash.

The FBI refused to comment on the arrests. This is an ongoing investigation,' a spokesman said. It would be completely inappropriate to comment.'

A further 23 people have been detained by US immigration authorities as part of the investigation, although most of these are for immigration violations. But the disclosure that at least two of the hijackers were being sought by the authorities weeks before the attacks is certain to spark renewed criticism of the intelligence services' failure to uncover the terrorist plot.

Al-Midhar was filmed by the CIA in January last year at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur with a suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole. In August, the CIA advised the immigration authorities to place al-Midhar and his associate, al-Hamzi, on a list barring entry to the US but officials quickly established that they had already entered the country, apparently using Saudi documents. The FBI launched a hunt for the men on August 21 but, despite an aggressive investigation', failed to track them down.

Nest of terrorists

The authorities established that both men had flown into LA early last year and into New York earlier this year. It has also emerged that both men had lived in America at various times in the past year. Al-Hamzi had rented a room in San Diego from September to December last year, which al-Midhar had shared for the first month.

Fresh details were also emerging about another of the Pentagon hijackers, Hani Hanjour. He took flying lessons at the CRM Airline Training Centre in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1996 and in December 1997. On both occasions he had tried but failed to qualify for a private pilot's certificate. He'd be late, he wouldn't show up, he was unprepared, he didn't do his homework,' said Paul Blair, CRM's controller. He didn't seem like he was committed to being an airline pilot.'

The focus of the FBI investigation remains in Florida, where 14 of the 19 hijackers had either trained as pilots at one of the state's many flying schools or lived a comfortable, quiet existence in the towns along the south-east coast.

One fear is that there are other sleeper' terrorists still at large.

The FBI believes that seven of the men were living in the Delray Beach area, north of Miami, days before the hijacks. Two others, including the suspected ringleader, Mohamed Atta, were in Hollywood - a nearby town - until two months ago. Although the exact movements of the hijackers are still unclear, investigators are following up more than 1,000 leads that suggest Florida had a nest of terrorists who did not work, but had easy access to money. The men flitted from hotels to motels to apartments, rarely staying longer than a month before moving on.

None of the men appeared to have jobs, but they were not short of money, and were able to pay landlords and motel owners in cash. They also bought business-class tickets for the flights they intended to hijack: Atta, for example, was in seat 8D in the business class of the American Airlines flight 11 from Boston, which was the first to hit the World Trade Centre. Intelligence failures

The FBI also believes that three of the hijackers enrolled at flying schools using false or stolen papers which showed that they worked for Saudi Arabian Airlines, and that the academies did not check to see if their stories were true.

Jeb Bush, the Florida governor and brother of the president, yesterday ordered a review of Florida's anti-terrorism measures, saying he was extremely concerned about the apparent failures of intelligence that led up to these incidents'.

Atta, 33, and Marwan Al-Shehhi, who was on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the south tower, both trained at the Huffman Aviation International Flight School in Venice, Florida, for four months last year. They paid a total of Dollars 38,700 ( pounds 26,000) for the course, which ended in November.

A month later, they spent another Dollars 1,500 for three hours of flight simulator training at the SimCenter, near Miami. An instructor said they concentrated on turning aircraft, rather than practising the more difficult manoeuvres of take-off and landing, which he thought was unusual.

Atta was last traced to a motel in Deerfield Beach, checking out of room 12 the day before the hijacks. He had stayed in the Panther hotel for a week with al-Shehhi. After they left, hotel staff found a black duffel bag in a rubbish skip. It contained flight manuals for Boeing 757s, flight path maps for the east coast, three jujitsu martial arts books, a binder full of handwritten notes and a German/English dictionary. A box cutter had been left in one of the drawers.

Seven of the suspected terrorists - Fayez Ahmed, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Mohald al-Shehri, Saeed al- Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Haznawi and Ahmed al-Nhami - have been traced to Delray Beach, but the FBI has refused to disclose exactly where they were staying.

The town has a small Middle-Eastern community, but no mosques or an Islamic centre. Police believe the men may have had some help or at least had sympathisers' in the area.

Waleed al-Shehri rented an apartment in Ocean Drive, Hollywood, while Abdu laziz al-Omari had been living quietly for several months in a house close to a flying school in Vero Beach, 300 miles north of Miami. Al-Omari told his neighbours that he was Saudi Arabian. Ten days before the attack he sent his wife and four children back home'.

A terrorist on the United Airlines flight 93 that crashed in rural Pennsylvania, Ziad Jarrahi, rented an apartment near Fort Lauderdale for two months earlier this summer. The landlord, Charles Lisa, said he was with another man and that they were very polite and friendly, the kind of young men you would like to take to a baseball game'. When they left, Mr Lisa asked them for a forwarding address, and they replied: We'll send you a postcard.'

Jeb Bush, the Florida governor and brother of the president, yesterday ordered a review of Florida's anti-terrorism measures, saying he was extremely concerned about the apparent failures of intelligence that led up to these incidents'.
A fuller picture of the terrorists' movements outside the US also began to take shape. It emerged that Atta had travelled to Spain from Miami on two occasions in the months leading up to the attack, while the Swiss authorities revealed that one of the hijackers had bought knives while staying in the country. The justice ministry in Bern refused to elaborate, but the SonntagsBlick newspaper claimed that Atta and Al-Shehhi had spent time in Switzerland during the summer, staying in a Zurich hotel.

Atta, who is believed to have led the hijacking operation, and al-Shehhi were members of an Islamic extremist cell in Hamburg. After raids in the city of Bochum at the weekend, the German authorities revealed that al-Jarrahi was also a member of the cell to have died in last Tuesday's carnage. The 27-year-old Lebanese, also referred to as al-Jarrah and Jarrahi, had studied aircraft engineering at the same Hamburg university as Atta and al-Shehhi.

The raids, late on Friday, uncovered aircraft-related documents'. Police questioned al-Jarrahi's German girlfriend who was said to have told them she had no idea he might be linked to terrorism. Officials said she had been put under police protection after being questioned.

German investigators said they were searching for a fourth man whom they identified only as Said B". The Guardian revealed on Saturday that the man who first rented the group's flat in Hamburg was called Said Bahaji, a German national. After questioning his wife, police said that he may have left for Pakistan earlier this month.

Despite a weekend of intense police activity in Germany, however, the country's chief prosecutor said he still had no evidence linking the alleged hijackers to the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.

Whether there were links to other people or groups will have to be determined in the investigation,' said Kay Nehm, who heads the federal prosecutors' office. But in the UK, it emerged that the man who was detained at Heathrow on the day of the attacks last week was Mufti Mohammed Khan, believed to be the second-in-command of Jaish-i-Mohammed, a terrorist group closely linked with Bin Laden. Birmingham connection

Mr Khan was held for two days under the Prevention of Terrorism act before being released without charge, but security service sources were quoted as saying that he had been returned to New York for questioning by the FBI. According to reports yesterday, Mr Khan is believed to have flown into the UK from New York to meet other members of Bin Laden's organisation in London, Birmingham and Wales.

Jaish-i-Mohammed is banned in the UK and is a prime suspect in the US attacks. Formed at least seven years ago to overthrow states friendly to the US and Israel, it claimed responsibility for the attack on the USS Cole.

The group has deep and varied connections to Bin Laden. A Jordanian member of the group told an Arab interviewer, working on behalf of ABC TV, that in the Sudan there were many bases at secret locations' and that the big man' financing them was Bin Laden.

The possible link with Jaish-i-Mohammed highlights the difficulty for US authorities in tying down the labyrinthine organisational structure of the group or groups which backed last week's attacks, and of establishing their exact relations to nation states.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events

1 posted on 09/17/2001 2:56:28 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby

'FreeRepublic Needs Your Help' Fundraiser

2 posted on 09/17/2001 3:00:54 PM PDT by d14truth
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To: all
Today’s news on suspects:
3 posted on 09/17/2001 3:03:00 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
Maybe these "failures of intelligence" were really just "national security" issues to the reno gang. I hope they're going through everything she ever filed under that big "national security" black hole. Bet there's lots of links.
4 posted on 09/17/2001 3:26:17 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: monkeywrench
More failures?
5 posted on 09/17/2001 3:29:09 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
Maybe if the Feds hadn't been so busy going after nitwits like James Beck they might have found the time to watch some KNOWN TERRORISTS who really needed watching.
6 posted on 09/17/2001 3:38:26 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: Wallaby
FBI denies reported arrests

Mobile Register (Alabama)
Staff Report

FBI agents gathered at a Daphne (East side of Mobile Bay)service station Friday morning but did not arrest or see anyone who appeared to be of Arabic descent, a bureau spokesman said Sunday afternoon.

Charles Middleton, special agent in charge of the FBI's Mobile office, made the statement in response to an article in Sunday's Register that quoted a clerk at the station as saying FBI agents and police had taken four men into custody.

Middleton said, "Our violent crime task force was out in Daphne Friday morning looking for a fugitive. The team arrived at the Shell station at about 5 a.m. as a staging area.

"Someone came out of the Shell station and told us their were four Arabic males in the station an hour before. We didn't fully explain to the person why we were there."

According to Middleton, the agents left their cars at the station on U.S. 98. He said they were looking for two men, one in Daphne and one in Bay Minette, but did not find either. He said the team continued its search for the men Sunday.

Middleton said the story about the four men being taken into custody was "amazing," especially since the man at the service station "came out and told us they were there an hour before we were."

The Sunday article quoted John Mornan, a cashier at the Shell station in Daphne, as saying that four men who appeared to be of Arabic descent came to the station about 5:20 a.m. Friday. One man remained outside to pump gasoline into the white van the men were traveling in and the others came inside.

He said one of the men, who bought caffeinated soft drinks and ice, told him they had been driving for days from California and were tired. He said the men did not appear tired and the van had a Florida license plate.

Mornan said the men appeared to be nervous and would not make eye contact.

After a few minutes, the man who had been pumping gasoline came to the door and spoke to the others in a language that was not English, Mornan said.

The men quickly went outside where FBI agents and police surrounded them. They were searched, handcuffed and put into two cars and driven away, said Mornan.

He said two FBI agents got into the van the men had been using and drove it away.

Mornan said several FBI agents remained behind and one told him that they had been following the men from Tampa since Thursday night.

He said the agent told him the men were expected to rendezvous with three other men but had not done so and the agents were concerned that, with dawn approaching, the men would realize they were being followed.

Mornan said he did not ask whether the men were under arrest or were just being detained for questioning.

He said he did not ask for the names of the FBI agents.

"They were wearing vests with 'FBI' written across them," Mornan said.

Contacted Sunday by the Register and told of Middleton's statement, Mornan, a 65-year-old retired aerospace engineer, said that the FBI must have been working on something that it did not want to reveal and that he did not want to argue with the FBI or do anything to harm national security.

"Why would I want to make up something like that," he said. "If I'd been looking for press (coverage), it would have been different. I didn't call you, you called me."

7 posted on 09/17/2001 3:43:48 PM PDT by blam
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To: BlueDogDemo,golitely,LSJohn,Judge Parker,Uncle Bill,t-shirt,rwz,bub
8 posted on 09/17/2001 3:47:27 PM PDT by OKCSubmariner
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To: Wallaby
WTC & Pentagon attacks

Here's the best collection of photographs I've found: </font size>
America Under Attack - Photographs: An Inside View</font size></font color>

9 posted on 09/17/2001 7:25:12 PM PDT by ppaul
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To: blam
very curious...
10 posted on 09/17/2001 8:46:54 PM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
I thought it was creditable because the guy was older and also an ex-engineer. Not your normal wild story type. I think the FBI is in a super 'shake-down' all over the country. I might add, this location is only about 20 miles away from where the USS Cole is being repaired. It was launched back into the water friday a day early because of security concerns. (Their words). (The USS Cole is being repaired in Pascagoula , Mississippi, about 20 miles straight down I-10 freeway) Connection? Don't know.
11 posted on 09/17/2001 9:07:50 PM PDT by blam
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To: Wallaby
12 posted on 08/02/2002 11:28:54 AM PDT by First_Salute
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