Between April 23 and June 29, 2001, thirteen
men obtained visas to come to United States based on
identities they presented at the American Consulate
in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Jeddah consulate had an
express visa program to expedite such requests. The
identities of the applicants had ubiquitous Arab tribal
names (See alphabetic list below*), so common as to
be almost untraceable by the Embassy. Since none of
these identities previously had traveled to the United
States, and were otherwise clean, they were
not on any watch list. Most of these names were of young
men from in the southern provinces of Saudi Arabia who
had not been heard from by their families for many months,
and, in some cases, years. According to relatives, many
of these missing youth had gone to fight the Russians
in Chechnya years before.
After arriving in America, the group stayed in pairs
in cheap hotel rooms, mainly in south Florida. Soon
after arriving, they applied for driver licenses and
opened joint bank accounts. One of them, using the name
Fayez Ahmed got a VISA and ATM cards in
Florida and Ahmed used the cards to pay the living expenses
for most of the other Jeddah conspirators. These cars
were funded through a checking account at a Standard
Chartered Bank branch in Dubai, United Arab Emirate
in the name of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.
In the last week in August, the thirteen men booked
first class tickets on September 11th flight American
Airlines flights 11 and 77, and United Airlines flights
175 and 93 over the airline web sites, paying
with their Visa cards. After the hijacking, the FBI
found 12 of the 13 names on the flight manifest ( Since
Fayed Ahmed was not listed on the manifests
of any of the flights, the FBI theorized he had assumed
the alias Banihammad Fayez, who was on the
manifest of Flight 175. )
It is not in doubt that the 13 men who came from Jeddah
were hijackers on September 11th.
Here is what we do not know:
1. Were the hijackers the missing men. Or did unknown
men use their identities for the mission?
Consider, the case of Abdulaziz Alomari. The day after
the hijacking the FBI identified him in an affidavit
as a hijacker who died on flight 11. The FBI also published
his photo, Abdulaziz Alomari then came forward in Saudi
Arabia and informed the authorities that his passport
had been stolen in 1995 while he studied electrical
engineering at the University of Denver (he reported
the identity theft at the time.) I couldn't believe
it when the FBI put me on their list. They gave my name
and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber.
I am here. I am alive. I have no idea how to fly a plane.
I had nothing to do with this." In this case, the
conspirators had obtained his passport and provided
it to an impersonator who resembled him. The impersonator
then used the stolen identity to get a visa from the
American consulate in Jeddah, obtain a Florida drivers
license and, on August 28, book seat 8G on AA Flight
11. He then few to Boston on September 6th, drove to
Portland, Maine on September 10th, and on September
11th used the driver license photo ID to board a connecting
flight in Boston and Flight 11. Whoever he was,
he was not Abdulaziz Alomari.
2. The identity of the other 12 men is also in question.
In some cases, relatives identified the photographs
from the visa files as ones resembling their missing
relatives, but such identifications meant only that
the missing mens photos were used to get the visas
(which would be expected in identity theft). There were
independent photos of only two of the thirteen men.
Alomari and Moqed were photographed
by security cameras in the United States. But, it turned
out, Alomari had been a stolen identity and no one came
forth to identify Moqed. So, it could not
determined if any of these thirteen hijackers were the
missing men whose names had been used to apply for visas.
3. If these hijackers were not the missing Saudis,
who were they? Were they pilots? Navigators? Commandos?
4. Where were they trained?
5. Who assembled the identity papers of the missing
men and made then available to the hijackers? A state
intelligence service which is in the business
of preparing legends for its agents or a Jihad
organization, which would have access to the papers
of men killed in Chechnya, or another group?
6. Who financed them through the Dubai account? The
the account, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, turned out to
be an alias.
*- The names used by the hijackers were: Abdulaziz
Alomari, Banihammad Fayez, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi,
Saaed al-Ghamdi, Salem al-Hamzi, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Majed
Moqed, Ahmed al-Nami, Waled al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri,
Mohald al-Shehri, and Satam al-Suqami