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 report, p.48).

Two INS inspectors were on duty at Miami airport and handled Atta's case. But neither recalled Atta, or recognized his photograph.

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 2nd, 2001.

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.

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