In a front
page scoop by James Risen on December 13, 2003, The
New York Times reported that "‘U.S. records
now indicate that Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., in
early April 2001, when he was supposedly in Prague to
meet [Iraq consul] Ani."
Is it true that there are records
that show Atta in Virginia on April 8, 2001-- the date
he was reported in Prague?
It is pure invention that the U.S. government
has any records that Atta was in Virginia Beach on April
The FBI only has records for April 4, 2001
that show that Atta and his roommate Marwan Al-Shehhi
checked out of the Diplomat Inn in Virginia Beach and
then cashed a check for $8,000 from al-Shehhi's SunTrust
account. The next record of Atta is April 24th,
when he is stopped by policeman in Coral Springs, Florida.
According to Newsweek, he rented an apartment in in
Coral Springs on April 11 (although there is no lease
or other record.)
Between those days, there was only one eyewitness sighting
of Atta : a Czech intelligence (BIS) watcher identified
him as meeting with al-Ani in Prague on April 8th.
The FBI claims that the billing record of a cell
phone Atta had used was used to make calls to Florida
in April. But of course a cell phone is not unique to
a single person, like fingerprints. His cell phone could
have been used by his roommate during his absence. So,
as CIA director Tenet correctly testified, there is
no evidence precluding Atta from going to Prague under
an alias on April 4 (with$8,000) and returning April
9th. And no records.