How many individuals named Mohamed Atta, or in league
with him, passed through US passport control in Miami
on January 10, 2001?
The mystery of Atta's doppelganger remains unresolved.
The INS inspector general noted in his report that
Atta appeared to have entered the US twice on January
10th 20001. That is because Atta had been given two
separate admission numbers--- 68653985709, expiring
9/10/01, and 10847166009 expiring July 9th (INS
Two INS inspectors were on duty at Miami airport and
handled Atta's case. But neither recalled Atta, or recognized
In reconstructing the events, the Inspector General
theorized that the Atta doppelganger may have arisen
from an error made by yet another INS inspector on May
On that day, according to INS records, Atta came in
to the INS Miami district office with two passports—
his and that of a companion. This companion, whose name
was not recorded, had entered the US with Atta on January
10, 2001 but had been given a less generous expiration
date— July 9th. Atta requested that passport of his
companion be extended two months to September 10th to
match his own.
Instead, the inspector decided Atta's September 10th
date was awarded to him in error, and she shortened
Atta's expiration date to July 9th.
Although the inspector herself does not recall the
incident recorded in her notes, the Inspector General
deduced that she had issued him a second admission number,
then, in doing so, made an error herself, and failed
to cancel his first admission number.
Maybe so. It is possible a double error occurred.
But if so, it means that Atta entered on January 10th
with a companion, raising an even more intriguing question:
Who was Atta's companion?
Marwan Alshehhi, his room-mate, can be excluded since
he did not re-enter the US until January 18th (and then
at JFK, not Miami). So can Ziad al-Jarrah, who had been
detained at the Dubai Airport in the UAE, and did not
enter in Miami on that date. So, for that matter, can
be all the other known September 11th hijacker or any
known associate of Atta's.
So either Atta had an unknown companion, who passed
through Customs with him in Miami on January 10th, and
needed to remain in the US until September 10th, or
Atta had a spurious passport in another name, with a
visa that he needed to extend to September 10th.