Skip to comments.San Diego Home to Many Terrorists
Posted on 05/14/2002 10:16:17 AM PDT by Barbie Doll
San Diego Home to Many 9-11 Hijackers San Diego Home to 'High Number' of Sept. 11 Hijackers and Their Associates, Court Papers Show
The Associated Press
Print This Page Email This Page See Most Sent
America: We Have a Right to Own Guns Are Some Majors More 'Profitable' Than Others? Meow! Your Cat Is Trying to Tell You Something
S A N D I E G O, May 14 A "high number" of the Sept. 11 hijackers and their associates made their homes in San Diego, according to newly released court documents.
Shortly after the attacks, federal authorities identified three hijackers on the plane that struck the Pentagon as having San Diego connections.
Authorities also arrested four people from San Diego as material witnesses in the case and later charged three of them with various crimes. The fourth was released.
But the documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press indicate the ring may have been larger.
The city became a focus of the terror investigation "because of the high number of hijackers and associates who lived, worked and studied," in the area, a State Department official said in a sworn statement filed in federal court.
Following the attacks, the State Department conducted a comprehensive review of visas issued to foreign nationals from countries with links to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, said James Nagel, a special agent with the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
"Special attention was directed at individuals who either indicated that they were destined for a school or a visit in San Diego," Nagel said in the two-page sworn statement.
The statement didn't go into detail about the terrorists' network or why they chose San Diego. It also did not specify how many of the 19 hijackers or their associates may have passed through the city.
The three hijackers with known San Diego connections were identified by the FBI as Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour.
The new court documents were filed in the case of Mohdar Abdoulah, a college student from Yemen who allegedly helped Almihdhar and Alhazmi blend in with American life in 2000.
Abdoulah, 24, is charged with filing an asylum application in May 2000 in which he falsely claimed he was from Somalia and was a member of a minority group that faced persecution there. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Abdoulah remained illegally in the United States "in order to help the before-mentioned hijackers and/or any future hijackers in the furtherance of terrorist activities against people in the United States," FBI agent Daniel Gonzalez said in a seven-page statement filed last week.
Abdoulah's attorney, Kerry Steigerwalt, has denied his client was involved in terrorism or had any prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks. He said Abdoulah had "incidental" contact with the hijackers.
Federal prosecutors said last week that Abdoulah, a former San Diego State University student, helped Alhazmi and Almihdhar obtain California driver's licenses and Social Security cards. He also called a flight school in Florida to arrange flight lessons for them.
Gonzalez said Abdoulah described his relationship with the men as close, and told FBI agents he tried but failed to keep in touch with the hijackers.
FBI agents arrested Abdoulah less than two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks and held him as a material witness in the terror investigation.
After his arrest, Abdoulah spoke without prompting of "the hatred in his heart for the United States government, and that the United States brought 'this' (Sept. 11) on themselves," prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors filed the documents last week in response to a request by defense attorneys to suppress evidence seized during a search of Abdoulah's home and car. The defense request remains sealed.
The documents also say that the State Department had become concerned about visas issued in Canada. Abdoulah had entered the United States in 1998 on a visitor's visa issued in Ottawa.
A spokeswoman for the State Department did not return a telephone call Monday seeking comment.
In other developments, a spiral notebook found in Abdoulah's car will not be used in his trial, scheduled for July, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat said.
References in the notebook to planes falling from the sky, mass killings and hijackings were written after Sept. 11 by a teen-ager who left the notebook in Abdoulah's car, Steigerwalt said.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.